The Office of Fair Trading has promised to crack down on misleading selling practices. It says that drip pricing is particularly harmful to consumers. This is the practice whereby additional charges – such as taxes and payment card charges – are added as a booking process progresses rather than consumers being told of the price up front. The OFT says that the next worst tactic is time-limited offers. It is also concerned by baiting sales, which involve little or no stock, but which are used to attract consumers to purchase something else more expensive. The OFT said that businesses that do not follow its guidance could risk enforcement action under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.
It will not be a surprise if there is soon going to be a succession of high-profile actions under the misleading selling regulations. CPUTR came into force two years ago, and so far the OFT seems to have tried to encourage businesses to comply rather than simply prosecute. However, there will come a point when the OFT will no longer tolerate continued misleading selling practices and will look to make examples of offenders. If that happens, traders could face criminal sanctions.