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Review your online sales promotions to ensure they are compliant
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is urging online businesses that sell goods, services, or digital content to consumers in the UK to review their online sales promotions to ensure they do not mislead consumers or give a false sense of a deadline.
These sales promotions are known as price reduction claims and urgency claims, and businesses use these tactics on their website homepage and other advertising channels. When designed fairly, they can alert consumers to genuine special offers or give them helpful information about current selling conditions.
A price reduction claim example includes using comparison prices to highlight a special offer - ‘now £80, was £150' - when the higher price does not reflect the usual price. In that instance, it can give a deceptive impression of the price advantage the consumer will benefit from if they buy now.
An urgency claim can be a countdown clock highlighting when a sale or special offer will finish. For example, ‘ends in 2 hours 10 minutes’, but when the time runs down, the promotion does not end.
How do I make my online sales promotions compliant?
You should review your online practices to ensure they meet the requirements of consumer protection law and make changes if needed. As part of your review, you should:
- look at all online activities including advertising, website, and apps;
- ensure anyone working on the claims for your online activity understands the legal requirements;
- keep records as evidence to verify the claims you make; and
- ensure price promotions are verified, special offer prices end when the promotion ends, and online advertising is correct.
If you sell products or services on an online marketplace, ensure the information you get from third party sellers is correct.
See: Urgency and price reduction claims: are your online tactics legal? - Competition and Markets Authority (blog.gov.uk)