- Hans Weber
- December 4, 2023
Czech Trade Inspection Uncovers Retailers’ Misleading Practices During Sales Events
A recent investigation by the Czech trade inspection has revealed concerning practices among retailers during sale events, prompting violations of consumer protection laws in 40% of cases examined. These findings come in response to new laws enacted earlier this year aimed at curbing deceptive marketing tactics that create false impressions of discounts. Of the 1,142 inspections conducted in the first half of the year, a significant portion uncovered violations of these consumer protection regulations.
The new regulations, designed to ensure transparency and fairness in sales advertising, require retailers to accurately inform customers about the lowest price at which a product was sold 30 days prior to the sale event. The law is particularly relevant for durable goods such as consumer electronics and clothing, and even applies to certain perishable items with minimum durability periods.
The violations largely center around incorrect calculations of discounts, wherein some retailers temporarily inflated prices before applying discounts, resulting in the final cost being higher than the original price. The inspections led to the issuance of 39 fines, totaling CZK 563,500, due to incorrect calculations and omitted information about the lowest price.
Retailers involved in these violations have not been publicly named, and investigations are still ongoing. The maximum penalty for violating consumer protection laws stands at five million Czech korun.
Jan Štěpánek, the director of the trade inspection, stressed that accurate and transparent communication with consumers is imperative, especially as the Czech Republic grapples with high inflation and declining real incomes. The economic landscape has driven more consumers to seek discounted products, heightening the importance of fair pricing practices.
In light of these findings, maintaining consumer trust becomes paramount for retailers. As consumer awareness of their rights continues to grow, adherence to laws and regulations is essential for retailers to avoid penalties and uphold their reputation. The trade inspection’s ongoing monitoring of retailers will contribute to fostering a retail environment characterized by accurate information and compliance with advertising sales rules. This approach is vital for the protection of consumers and the overall health of the Czech retail market.
Article by Prague Forum