18 July 2024, 10:05
By Furniture News Dec 18, 2023

CMA investigates Simba Sleep’s online sales practices

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation to examine whether Simba Sleep has misled consumers about price reductions and put unfair pressure on consumers to make quick purchases.

The concerns being investigated focus on: Simba Sleep’s use of potentially misleading claims about the extent of price reductions on its mattresses and related products; and the use of urgency claims such as countdown timers that may mislead consumers on the availability of special offers. 

This investigation follows the publication in March 2023 of an open letter from the CMA which called on UK businesses to stop using sales practices that could break the law. The letter provides practical examples of common online sales practices that may mislead consumers or apply undue pressure. Examples include price comparison claims that present consumers with a reduced price alongside a higher, struck-through price, when in fact very few items were sold at the higher price, and the use of countdown-timers that do not accurately reflect when offers will end.  

Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA, says:   "It’s important shoppers can recognise a genuinely good deal, especially as the cost of living hits people’s pockets. More and more of us are buying online so it’s essential companies are being upfront and honest about claims they make about price reductions or when using countdown clocks that may pressure people into making quick decisions.  

"Discounts are a great way for firms to attract customers, but they must represent a real saving. We’re concerned that firms in the mattress sector and perhaps more widely could be using price reduction claims in a way that could mislead shoppers.  

"We’ve given Simba Sleep notice that we have launched a consumer investigation into its potentially misleading sales practices. Other companies in the mattress sector, and across the online economy, should take the opportunity to look at their own practices to ensure the way they do business stays within the law."

How the case progresses will depend on the evidence gathered. Possible outcomes include the CMA securing undertakings from Simba Sleep that address its concerns, taking court action or closing the case without further action.   

Simba says it is working closely with the CMA to ensure best practice is adhered to in all cases.

The investigation into Simba is part of the CMA’s ongoing programme of consumer enforcement work focused on Online Choice Architecture, which is aimed at tackling potentially harmful online selling practices, including pressure selling tactics such as urgent time-limited claims. The CMA’s investigation into Emma Sleep, which also relates to concerns about the possible use of misleading price discount and urgency claims (see related), and Wowcher, are also part of this programme.

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