19 May 2024, 09:29
By Furniture News Jul 10, 2023

CMA calls on sleep brand to change selling practices

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is calling on mattress brand Emma Sleep to change its selling practices, which it says could be putting unfair pressure on customers to make quick purchases.

Last November, the CMA launched an investigation following concerns about Emma Sleep’s online selling practices – including whether its ‘urgency claims’ such as countdown timers and ‘discounts’ were misleading consumers.

As a result of its investigation, the CMA says it has found evidence that discount claims made by Emma Sleep did not match the actual savings made by customers.

The CMA also has concerns that the firm’s use of countdown timers and claims of high demand for certain products could mislead consumers, and therefore breach consumer protection law.

Emma Sleep’s website features extensive ‘discount’ offers, illustrated by what is known as ‘was/now’ pricing. During its investigation, the CMA found evidence that only a small fraction of Emma Sleep products were actually sold at the ‘full’ price – so, as such, the ‘discount’ did not represent a genuine saving against the usual selling price of Emma Sleep’s products.

These discounts were used in conjunction with countdown clocks. The CMA says that while such clocks can sometimes help shoppers take advantage of genuine sales, it found that when an Emma Sleep ‘sale’ concluded, it was quickly replaced by another – in some instances within 24 hours.

The CMA considers that the countdown clocks used by Emma Sleep risked giving the misleading impression that discounts would soon end, and products would return to full price, when this was often not the case. 

The CMA has written to Emma Sleep detailing its concerns and outlining the ways in which the brand can address them.

Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA, says: "Companies that use fake countdown clocks or misleading ‘discounts’ risk pressuring people into making quick purchases and often spending more money than they otherwise would for fear of missing out. This is especially concerning given the current pressure on people’s pockets.

"We have put a number of detailed concerns to Emma Sleep about its sales tactics. The CMA looks to Emma Sleep to agree to change the way it does business to avoid the risk of court action."

For more information, visit the Emma Sleep inquiry page.

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