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Following an OFT investigation into high street furniture and carpet businesses sales pricing, the Kitchen Bedroom Bathroom Specialists Association (KBSA) said it would welcome a similar probe into the kbb industry.
The OFT is investigating the referencing pricing of six businesses, which aim to demonstrate to consumers that they offer good value, by including a typically higher past or future price (such as “Was £800, now half price £400 or ‘Now £400, After Event price £800’).
CEO of the KBSA, Graham Ball said: “My guess it that parts of the kbb sector, along with many other consumer sectors, would have similarities with the carpet sector. Typically multiple reductions or hugely reduced prices are just a smoke screen for what is essentially a lower-priced kitchen, promoted to look like a bargain. If the OFT was to investigate such practices then this would be a good thing for consumers and the independent sector in particular.”
He continued: “Most consumers now realise that big retailers promote at the same four times each year, every year. Retailers must surely understand that consumers are no longer stupid when it comes to ‘sale’ times, realising that prices will be artificially high outside of these periods.” Hayden concluded: “An OFT investigation would support our message to the consumer that you don’t always get what you think you are going to get from a multiple. Buying from an independent retailer is much more straightforward as a full price breakdown is given and promotions tend to be based on local events, and I believe are therefore far more genuine.”
The OFT had sent consultation letters and draft undertakings to the six businesses involved and stated it should not be assumed, that any breach of consumer protection legislation had been breached.