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Consumer authority logs slew of complaints over Black Friday price rigging

A majority of the complaints centred on misleading advertising of price discounts on consumer electronics.

Black Friday alennusmainos
The American consumption fest known as Black Friday has settled in Finland, too. Image: Ben Stansall / AFP
Yle News

The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (KKV) reports that the consumer safety ombudsman has received some 70 formal complaints over unfair pricing and marketing during November's Black Friday sales campaigns.

The number of complaints is about the same as in 2017, when the amount doubled from the previous year.

A majority of the grievances logged have to do with consumer electronics, with customers complaining that stores rigged prices to make them appear reduced.

For instance, some shops hiked the original retail price of a 100-euro cell phone to 150 euros a few days before the sales campaign began, so that the Black Friday price would seem lower even though the actual price was not altered.

"Price rigging is prohibited," said KKV lawyer Saija Kivimäki. "Consumers might be duped into thinking they are getting a deal even though they are not."

Weekly news magazine Suomen Kuvalehti reported soon after the discount weekend that several different retail chains had tampered with the prices of electronics such as televisions, computers and washing machines.

Delays, poor service

Kivimäki said that people also complained about sold out products and wild price variations, especially in online stores. Customers also lodged complaints about product order delays, delivery errors and poor or unreachable customer service.

The Black Friday phenomenon arrived in Finland some years ago, and an increasing number of shopkeepers have upped the ante each year since, raking in record sales.

Individual consumer-related disputes may be handled by the Consumer Advisory Service (siirryt toiseen palveluun) after a complaint has been filed with the company that sold the product or service.

If the vendor resides in the EU, Norway or Iceland consumers may also turn to the European Consumer Centre in Finland (siirryt toiseen palveluun). Issues with inappropriate marketing or unfair terms may be submitted to the Consumer Ombudsman (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

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