Wickes ‘50% off’ discount BANNED after retailer doubled prices on the same day – The Sun

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Wickes ‘50% off’ discount BANNED after retailer doubled prices on the same day – The Sun



AN ad for a 50 per cent discount on kitchens at Wickes has been banned because the DIY shop doubled the prices on the same day, meaning it wiped out any savings for customers.
The advertising watchdog ruled that Wickes’ offer for a Heritage Bone showroom kitchen on its website in August and September was misleading and said it can’t be shown in the same form again.
1 The DIY chain has had one of its ads banned by the advertising watchdogCredit: Getty – Contributor
It comes as a warning to consumers to always scrutinise deals and calculate the prices at retailers beforehand to make sure they are as good as they sound.
Wickes advertised the kitchen starting at £2,086, including a multi-buy discount of 50 per cent off for customers who bought five or more units and 50 per cent off installation.
But the retailer also raised the list price for each individual unit, meaning the overall cost was the same as it had been before the promotion.
The cost of one unit rose from £159 to £318, “effectively cancelling out any saving”, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said.
Similar price increases occurred on every unit across each range, it added.
Under Trading Standards rules, retailers must have previously sold a significant number of units at a certain price if they want to use that price as a reference for a discount.
How to avoid a bad dealIT’S important to do your own research before you splash out. Here are a few tips:

Shop around: Always check the price of the items you’re after at a few shops and websites to see where you can get it cheapest, so you’ll know if you’re actually getting a decent deal
Don’t fall for “was”/”now” pricing: If the discount seems to be exaggerated, check the original price with other retailers
Check the price history: Price-tracking site CamelCamelCamel lets you search the price history for all items on Amazon and Pricehistory lets you track prices at Argos
Avoid hefty delivery charges: You can easily avoid being hit with unexpected delivery costs by double-checking this in advance

ASA upheld six complaints, including one from consumer champion Which?, that the promotion misled customers.
Which? also complained that customers may have felt rushed to buy a kitchen, assuming it would end, when in fact the same prices had been available for a long time.
Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services, said: “Today’s ruling indicates that this offer from Wickes should never have been run in the first place.
“If it, and other retailers, continue to play fast and loose with the rules, we urge Trading Standards and the ASA to intervene and send a clear message that these practices have to stop.”
Wickes defended its ad, and said that the 50 per cent discount was a multi-buy offer rather than a discount on the previous selling price.
It said multi-buy offers were a common and legitimate way to increase sales and were well understood by consumers, and added that its offer was in line with market practice.
Yet Wickes data showed that it had made very few sales of four or fewer units, either before or after the multi-buy offer was introduced.
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Banning the ad, the ASA told Wickes not to change list prices in a way that gave the misleading impression that a genuine saving could be made when that was not the case.
It also told the retailer not to base price claims on the cost of an individual unit where the ad was clearly promoting full kitchens.
The ASA said: “We therefore considered that the price of a single unit was not valid in this context as a reference for a saving on a full kitchen, and that the claimed saving based on the showroom list price of a single unit did not represent a genuine saving for consumers.”
Wickes declined to comment.
Earlier this year, Groupon was accused of misleading shoppers with dodgy deals and exaggerated savings after an investigation.
Argos shoppers were also furious after realising that the retailer’s clearance sale includes items that haven’t been reduced.
Meanwhile, a few years ago, House of Fraser was fined £40,000 for misleading customers over Christmas discounts.
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