Carpet firms change after probe

Somerset County Gazette: United Carpets and Floors2go have overhauled pricing practices after an investigation by the competition watchdog United Carpets and Floors2go have overhauled pricing practices after an investigation by the competition watchdog

Two carpet and flooring firms have overhauled their pricing practices in the wake of an investigation by the competition watchdog.

The undertakings by United Carpets and Floors2go owner Nixon & Hope come as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) continues to look into potentially misleading pricing by furniture and carpet retailers.

It said the Floors2go website was found to be advertising products at an initial square metre price which excluded VAT, while it also found that some claimed savings were incorrect. The company has since amended its website to ensure any savings are accurate.

United Carpets, which has 67 franchised stores, will ensure that its advertised recommended retail prices are genuine and that it will not use time-sensitive promotions such as "closing-down sale" without an explanation of the circumstances of the promotion.

OFT director Gaucho Rasmussen said: "'Shoppers rely upon clear, honest and upfront advertising of prices.

"When retailers advertise misleading prices or promotions, consumers often make different purchases - or spend more money - than they otherwise might have done.

"We therefore welcome the changes that United Carpets and Nixon & Hope have made, and agreed to make, to their pricing and marketing strategies.

'When buying big ticket items, consumers should always shop around and check that the price they are paying represents value for money."

The OFT is continuing its investigation into the sector but United Carpets said it was no longer a part of it.

United's chief executive Paul Eyre said the OFT was happy with the company's pricing and marketing strategies after working with the watchdog to eliminate any "unnecessary issues".

He added: "The OFT voiced a concern over the use of recommended retail prices and whilst these have been provided to us by independent third parties we decided to phase out their use over a period of time and that exercise was completed by the end of 2013.

"The OFT also suggested that should it be necessary to hold a store closing sale then a small amount of additional information could be displayed. On the odd occasion where this might arise in the future we are more than happy to do that."

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