Nineteen web shops, including Zalando, H&M and Amazon, were fined 2.4 million euro in France because of misleading promotions.
Rife with misleading discounts
The French DGCCRF, tasked with upholding the competitive and non-fraudulent nature of the market, issued a total of 2.4 million euro in fines for nineteen different online companies because it deemed their promotional campaigns to be misleading. One such practice is to increase the price and then apply a discount, making it seem like the product is now very cheap by comparison.
Amazon, Zalando and Le Comptoir des Cotonniers have all paid their fines, but companies like H&M, GrosBill, Darel and Netquattro have refused to do so. The DGCCRF had investigated pricing for several months, noticing several worrisome trends, like when companies say a discount will only be temporary and then apply it several times throughout the year. The governmental bureau concluded that the online world is rife with fake discounts and therefore it will continue to investigate and fine.
It is not the first time Amazon, and other companies like Alibaba, have come under scrutiny for these malpractices. During Singles’ Day, China’s biggest online shopping day of the year, both companies were accused of increasing the price the day before so that the discounts during Singles Day would appear to be greater than they actually were.