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CCPC warns businesses on price-cut practices

27 Jul 2023 / regulation Print

CCPC warns businesses on price-cut practices

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has told businesses planning their winter sales that it will be watching to ensure that sales discounts are genuine and that consumers are not misled.

The watchdog’s statement comes as many businesses are planning their Black Friday and end-of-year sales.

A CCPC analysis carried out late last year and into early 2023 found what the body described as “a number of concerning pricing practices”.

The watchdog points out that new rules on price reductions were introduced last year.

‘Real’ discounts

Commission member Kevin O’Brien said that a discount “must be a real discount”, adding that the CCPC would not allow businesses to mislead consumers into thinking that they were getting a better deal than they were.

The Pricing Indication Regulations set out requirements for the use of discounts, which cover announcements such as ‘sales’ prices, ‘special offers’ or ‘Black Friday offers’.

The CCPC says that, by law, when a business makes price-reduction announcements, they must display the lowest price a product was on sale for in the previous 30 days, and base the discount on this price alone.

The commission carried out an analysis of pricing data from several business websites late last year and into early 2023.


O’Brien said that the analysis had shown that some traders had not yet changed their practices on price-reduction announcements after the introduction of the new rules last year.

Some of the issues the CCPC found included:

  • Not using the lowest price applied to the product in the previous 30 days before the price of the product was reduced,
  • Indicating a previous price that never applied to the product in question in a price-reduction advertisement,
  • Indicating a recommended retail price only, and presenting this price as having previously applied to the product in question.

O’Brien said that, up to now, the CCPC had been engaging with businesses to inform them of their new obligations.

“Businesses have been given ample opportunity to get their house in order. This engagement phase is now over, and sales pricing is now an enforcement priority for the CCPC,” he warned.

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