Does '50% off all stock' ad actually mean all?
Q Pauline contacted Smart Consumer about "something that has been really annoying me and hopefully you can shed some light on the issue."
She reports that through local adverts in her home town she discovered that a children's clothing store was having a sale.
And not any old sale either! "Being a mother of two small boys", writes Pauline "I was delighted to hear this and was even more overjoyed to learn they had 50% of all stock."
But the rub was they didn't. Instead there was 50% off some stock.
"Nowhere in adverts did it say this", she claims. "There was no small print and no exceptions. It clearly said 50% off all stock.
"Surely this is false advertising?" asks Pauline. "I was very disappointed and think this is wrong."
A This was certainly disappointing for Pauline, and she is correct. It seems this was actually in breach of the law.
Under the Consumer Protection Act 2007, it is illegal for an advertiser or business to make false or misleading claims about goods, services or prices, and that includes in advertisements.
In guidelines to the Act drawn up by the National Consumer Agency (NCA) they state among other things that:
Promotional advertising should be "clear, unambiguous and easily understood" and that "consumers have a right to expect that what they are offered or see is what they get."
When it comes to sales, the idea is that the trader should not have an unfair advantage when it comes to pricing the goods.
After all, psychologically we're all tempted when we see the sale sign.
So if there is 50% off, then firstly we need to know 'off what'? If the ad says 50% off everything then that's what you should get.
Pauline can complain by reporting the business to the NCA at www.consumerconnect.ie or by phoning 1890 432 432 or 01 402 55 55.