Europe 1 with AFP / Photo credit: JACQUES LOIC / PHOTONONSTOP / PHOTONONSTOP VIA AFP 11:42 am, May 31, 2023

The consumer association UFC-Que Choisir announced Wednesday that it had filed a complaint for "misleading commercial practices" against eight major e-commerce sites including Amazon, La Redoute, Zalando and Cdiscout, in a statement.

"The analysis by the UFC-Que Choisir of a sample of 6,586 ads bearing a crossed price, published on the main e-commerce sites, shows that only 3.4% of them correspond to real promotions operated by sellers", which corresponds to "more than 9 crossed out of 10 prices [which] are misleading promotions", deplores the association.

In detail, the UFC states that in almost all of its sample (96.6%), "professionals display promotions based not on price reductions over the last 30 days, but on the concept of so-called 'comparison' pricing. In this case, they are free to choose a reference price with which to compare their product, so as to present their offer as a bargain not to be missed".

Drifts observed

The association cites several "allegations identified", such as "recommended selling price", "originally", "old price", "average price on the marketplace", "average price on competing sites", "price informed by the seller" which are according to it "as multiple as unintelligible". These "questionable practices deceive consumers by promising them great deals," she laments.

"Given the abuses observed", the association announced that it filed a complaint with the prosecutor of the Republic of Paris against eight e-commerce sites, for misleading commercial practices", namely Amazon, ASOS, Cdiscount, E.Leclerc, La Redoute, Rue du Commerce, Veepee and Zalando.

At the same time, it calls on the European Commission "to strictly prohibit any reference price system other than that provided for in the Omnibus Directive". This European regulation "requires for a year that the display of a price reduction is made on the basis of the lowest price charged by the seller" during the "month preceding the entry into force of the promotion," recalls the UFC.