Electroline fined €30,000 for misleading Black Friday deals

Administrative court fined 30,000 Euros to Alpan Electroline for violating consumer protection laws over misleading and false Black Friday deals, the state’s consumer protection service said on Tuesday.

The consumer services report cited incidents such as claims by the retailer that a 49” TV had its price reduced by €160 during its 2020 sales but it was instead discovered that the price was only truly lowered by €10.

The consumer service’s report further found that a Bosch Dryer had been priced at €589 prior to Black Friday, but on the supposed day of sales it remained at the same price – however Electroline instead claimed that it had been reduced from €799, therefore misleading customers into thinking that there was a reduction of €210 on offer.

Electroline claimed that the discrepancies reported were not done with the intent to mislead but were instead simply mistakes, which in some cases harmed the seller. It claims that in some cases the discounts on offer were greater than those which consumers saw. The services however flatly rejected the retailer’s position, which essentially argued that some mistakes were unprofitable, saying that there is such no evidence and no such data was submitted.

After a back and forth between the importer and the authorities, it was uncovered that the company had no evidence of the product ever having been sold for €799. Instead, it had proof that the item had at one point prior to Black Friday been sold for €749 on November 9, 2020 – just before the day of sales. Therefore, officials maintained that the sale was indeed misleading as the true mark down was €160, not the €210 as advertised.

Another case saw a 65” LG TV being advertised as having been reduced by €270 instead of the true reduction of just €60. Another saw claims that a 49” TV had its price reduced by €160 but was instead only truly lowered by €10. A series of similar incidents were recorded and reported.

The TV was being sold prior to Black Friday for €499 but during the sales its initial price was claimed to be €579 and reduced to €479.

The services state that there is no evidence of the TV ever having been sold for €579, while the moment it was made available to the public – prior to Black Friday – it was truly being sold for €499, when even then it was claimed that it was reduced from €579. The TV was eventually listed at €579, after Black Friday.

The consumer protection service, part of the commerce ministry – itself of the wider energy ministry, has the power to issue fines of up to €500,000. Their report stated that officials received reports and complaints from members of the public, as well as social media posts being brought to their attention.

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