The Swedish Government yesterday voted to enforce new EU rules that increase the protection of Swedish consumers online. Retailers will for example have to list the original price of a product next to the sale price to avoid seasonal price hikes, so-called fake sales, coming into effect in September this year. With Black Friday coming up, the UK still lacks laws to stop these fake sales from happening.
When shopping online today, consumers in the UK are protected by the Consumer Contracts Regulations and the Consumer Rights Act, which offer shoppers a fair amount of security. But when it comes down to it, the rules are not that easy to follow and consumers are still not protected enough, according to price and product comparison service PriceRunner.
One example is Black Friday, where many online shops intentionally increase product prices ahead of the sales period and then lower prices to create an inflated impression of a sale, looking much better than it is. This is an ongoing issue that PriceRunner has been monitoring for several years.
In 2021, the company analysed more than 20,000 product prices on PriceRunner UK and found that one in five deals on Black Friday were so-called fake sales. But starting from September this year, retailers will need to be more transparent with their pricing in an effort to get rid of these fake sales.
We have been fighting for the protection of consumers for many years and are incredibly happy for the historical step the Swedish Government has taken. I strongly urge the UK Government to follow suit and further increase the protection of online shoppers in the UK, by adopting these new rules set out by the EU", said Mikael Lindahl, CEO of PriceRunner.
Mikael Lindahl, CEO PriceRunner
The decision by the Swedish government follows new EU rules that were enforced earlier this year to further protect consumers online. As shopping becomes increasingly digital consumers require extra protection. These new laws will for example mean that online retailers need to list the pre-sale price next to the discounted price, which needs to be the lowest price for that product at least 30 days before the sale.
This new law will not just benefit shoppers but also retailers in Sweden who already play fairly and avoid putting up their prices. Competition will be a lot more equal when fake deals are no longer acceptable and all merchants play by the same rules to compete for the hard-earned cash from consumers.
What happens next in the UK is still to be seen, but today there is no law in the UK directly prohibiting these fake online sales. PriceRunner believes there will be a lot of fake deals to watch out for still in 2022, urging consumers to do their research before buying a - seemingly - great bargain during the sales.
PriceRunner was founded in 1999 and is the UK’s largest comparison service with 2.3 million products from 6,000 retailers in 21 different countries, who all deliver to the UK. The company has roughly 200 employees in Stockholm, Sweden and Nykøbing Falster, Denmark. Our services are used every month by consumers who can compare products, prices, specifications, read professional product tests and consumer reviews of products and retailers. PriceRunner is owned by Klarna. PriceRunner is a completely independent company. We are not owned by any manufacturers and are not dependent on them, retailers or other organisations with an interest in providing biased information. Our goal is to help consumers find the right products to the best prices. Every month, we help consumers find better and cheaper products while saving money by using PriceRunner's services.