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Michael Browne

Furniture stores used fake prices, says OFT

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Six High Street furniture and carpet retailers have been accused of misleading their customers with fake prices.


The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said the stores had all advertised price cuts which were not genuine.


In particular, they advertised reductions from previously higher prices, which tricked customers into thinking they were getting a bargain.


Carpetright and the ScS chain are among the six being investigated.


During its inquiries, the OFT said it found systematic examples of inflated "reference pricing".


That is where a retailer claims the price "was" £500, for example, and is "now" £300.


But the OFT said that in some cases, the stores under investigation had not sold a single product at the previous higher price.


On average, it found that 95% of sales were at the lower, or "now" price, suggesting the original prices were not genuine.


It also said the problem was "endemic" within the industry.


Carpetright said it would co-operate fully with the OFT, but insisted there was no suggestion that it had broken competition law.



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