The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued a fine to an online and bricks and mortar retailer of four-wheel drive and camping accessories (Retailer). The ACCC issued the AUD $63,000.00 fine in response to consumer complaints that the Retailer was allegedly misleading consumers about "was/now" price comparisons on its website. The Retailer has also provided a court-enforceable undertaking to not engage in similar conduct and to publish corrective advertising.
The ACCC alleges that between December 2018 and January 2019, Retailer advertised some of its highest selling products with a high "was" price and a low "now" price. However, the products had not been advertised or sold at the purported higher price at any time during the three months prior to the advertising campaign.
The ACCC issued five infringement notices to Retailer, alleging that this conduct misled consumers as to the savings they would achieve by purchasing the products at the low "now" price.
This incident serves as a timely reminder to companies who use two-price comparison advertising that they must ensure such advertisements do not mislead consumers about the true price of the product or exaggerate potential savings.
The ACCC maintains an Advertising and Selling Guide which provides useful information for companies about when two-price comparison advertising may be misleading. The Advertising and Selling Guide is available here.