Shoes & Cloth: CCP Cracks Down on Deceptive Discounts

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In a bid to protect consumers from deceptive marketing tactics, the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) is taking decisive action against shoe and clothing brands that trick customers with fake discounts. As the seasonal surge in discounts continues, the CCP urges brands to provide transparent and visible disclosures of both actual and discounted prices to avoid enforcement actions.

The CCP’s preliminary investigations have revealed instances of deceptive marketing practices within 27 brands offering ‘flat’ discounts. Violating Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010, these practices can mislead consumers and potentially lead to enforcement actions against the brands involved.

The survey and probe conducted by the CCP unveiled cases where the advertised ‘Flat discount’ did not apply to all items, creating a disparity between the advertised discount and the actual sale prices. Illegible font sizes in the ‘Terms & Conditions’ disclaimer and, in some instances, the complete absence of such disclosures were identified during the investigation.

Furthermore, certain offers, such as ‘Flat 50% plus 20% on bank cards,’ presented different terms for online and retail purchases, causing confusion among consumers. This discrepancy was observed in approximately 96% of the outlets surveyed.

The lack of clear and essential information in these marketing practices hampers consumers’ ability to make informed decisions. The CCP urges consumers to stay vigilant, thoroughly review terms and conditions, and be cautious to avoid falling victim to deceptive marketing tactics.

To reinforce transparency and prevent deceptive practices, the CCP has issued “Guidelines on Section 10: Deceptive Marketing Practices.” These guidelines explicitly prohibit ‘Bait and Switch Advertising,’ where a product is advertised at a lower price but charged at a higher price during the purchase. Brands are advised to ensure clear disclosure of terms and conditions across all media to avoid creating false impressions about the goods on offer.

As the CCP upholds its mandate under the Competition Act, the focus remains on fostering free competition, enhancing economic efficiency, and safeguarding consumers from anti-competitive behavior in the market. Stay informed and vigilant to make empowered purchasing decisions amidst the dynamic landscape of discounts and sales offers.

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