Today, The Furniture Ombudsman (TFO) has responded to the announcement by The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) that it would be undertaking an investigation into pricing practices within the furniture sector.

The OFT stated that it has completed a number of investigations into these practices and, under the Enterprise Act 2002, it is considering whether several businesses are in breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

As a result of their investigations, draft undertakings have been sent out to these businesses asking them to cease potential misleading pricing. The OFT has made clear that at this stage no assumption should be made that there has been a clear breach of consumer protection legislation.

Jon Walters, service delivery manager for TFO, says: “We think there should be transparency with regards to pricing. Retailers should follow the regulatory framework that exists to protect consumers and encourage fair trading practices. We work closely with Trading Standards and support the aims of the Office of Fair Trading investigation which we hope will encourage all retailers to meet their obligations to consumers. It is important that there is no potential to mislead consumers when making a purchase – this is particularly true for high value items, such as furniture.

“The role of TFO is to resolve disputes, inspire consumer confidence and raise standards through education and advice. We will be providing additional training courses for retailers on the subject of pricing and advertising compliance.

“As well as providing extra reassurance for their customers, TFO members receive discounts on training and access to advice from our experts in consumer law. If you are not already a member, it may be a good time to consider signing up.”

The Advertising and Price Compliance course aims to help businesses understand the advertising standards in order to meet their legal obligations. The next course takes place on 17th September and, due to popular demand, an additional date has been added for 1st October.

The course looks specifically at price advertising, with examples of a variety of price promotions and how the legislative and regulatory framework applies to these. It is aimed at senior operations and supply chain managers, ecommerce and marketing and owners or directors of small businesses.