Case reference: CRE-E/27863, CRE-E/27864
These investigations were opened by the OFT as part of its work to
address pricing practices that act as a barrier to fair choice and
effective competition. The theme is a priority in the OFT's Annual Plan
2013/2014 and builds upon the findings of the Advertising of Prices
published by the OFT in December 2010 which identified a number of
harmful pricing practices.
The OFT was concerned that certain pricing practices might be misleading
The Enterprise Act 2002 ('EA02'); the Consumer Protection from Unfair
Trading Regulations 2008; and the Price Marking Order 2004.
Summary of work
In April 2012 the OFT opened investigations into the pricing and
advertising practices of a number of businesses operating in the carpet
and flooring sectors.
In August 2012 some of the investigations were closed; one business was
found to be using trade logos in a way that was considered to be
potentially misleading and this was closed after the business accepted
guidance and immediately changed its website. The other investigations
were closed on administrative priority grounds.
In the course of the continuing investigation the OFT sent information
requests to the businesses under section 224 of the EA02. All the
businesses have co-operated with the OFT investigations.
United Carpets have signed undertakings to address the OFTs concerns.
Nixon & Hope Limited has agreed to amend its website to ensure that
any price advantages claimed are accurate. It has also agreed to address
the OFT's concerns by ensuring where a price is indicated to consumers
a clear, unambiguous selling price inclusive of VAT will be given. The
amendment to the website will be completed in February 2014.
The OFT expects businesses in this sector using similar practices to
those that have been considered to be misleading to change their
Although the OFT has now closed its formal investigation, it will
monitor future conduct, keeping the sector under review to ensure
compliance with the undertakings and relevant legislation.