OFT to probe sneaky price tricksters like... oh, we can't think of any
Also caught in the glare of the OFT will be airlines who pile extra charges on top of the advertised fare. For the life of us we can’t think of the name of any companies who would do such a thing. Can you?
According to BBC News, among the dastardly doings that will be examined are…
• Drip pricing - where consumers only see an element of the price upfront and end up paying much more due to optional or compulsory extras. This could include products sold by airlines, car hire firms and insurance companies
• Time-limited offers - such as sales that finish at the end of the month or last for one day only. Carpet stores and furniture sellers could be representative of this practice, the OFT said
• Baiting sales - where a company advertises discounts to attract visitors whilst having few items at that price on sale
• Reference prices - artificially inflating the pre-sale price of an item in order to make the discount look more attractive. This could refer to companies offering cruises, selling furniture or to supermarkets
• Complex pricing - where it is difficult for a consumer to assess an individual price, such as with three-for-two offers and 'free' add-ons. Mobile phone companies, supermarkets and computer stores could fall into this category.
The OFT say that the investigation is expected to be completed by next summer, just in time for them to put their feet up and have a month off watching the World Cup. Good for them – they’ll have earned it.