“3 blinds for £99” etc – The myth

Unscrupulous and dishonest firms can use this type of banner advert to snare gullible potential buyers. In many cases this is merely a device to gain entry to a house to sell blinds at the prices they really want to get. And the real prices are much higher than Charisma for an equivalent product. (See case studies, McConnachie, Menzies and Greer below.) So how do they get away with it? Well their salesman carries a choice (usually three fabrics) of the shabbiest quality and least attractive colours and announces that this is their “Special Deal” range. The choices have been carefully selected by the proprietors to be virtually un-saleable.

And if anyone is daft enough to say they will buy the awful blinds, these companies will then tell you about the add-ons for delivery, fitting, for making the vertical blinds so that they part in the middle.

Case Study 1 – Shades

Mrs McConnachie of Dalmellington, saw a “Shades” advert “3 for £99”. She needed four blinds not three, so anticipated spending £150, and asked for a Shades Representative to call. She didn’t like the look of the “3 for £99” material, in fact she called it “rubbish”.

The Shades Representative then showed her acceptable material and measured her windows i.e 3 at 70″ x 33″ and one at 70″ x 44″

Total price £280. (Quotation no. 383178 – 17th May 2008)

Our price for the same material £229.

Case Study 2 – Shades

Mrs Dickie of Kilwinning, saw a Shades advert “Special Anniversary Offer”…” 4 for £99″ As she needed exactly 4 blinds, she asked a Shades Representative to call anticipating spending £99 for the 4 blinds she needed.

Window sizes – 78″ x 59″, 70″ x 58″, 37″ x 60″, 37″ x 57″ – the Shades Representative said that these sizes were outwith the offer and gave her a quote:-

Total price £276 (quotation no. 386331 9th June 2008)

Our price for similar material – – £230

Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008

“3 for £99” bad news for those who mislead the public.

From May 26 2008, many existing laws (including most of the “Trade Descriptions Act”) have been replaced by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

The new regulations ban traders from engaging in unfair practices, such as misleading advertising.

Many traders advertising “3 blinds for £99” have been proven to be deliberately misleading, and thus fall foul of the Regulations. They engage in a practice known to the Regulator as “bait and switch.”But it is only if members of the public notify the Regulator (in this case the Regulator is your local Trading Standards Office) that they have been misled, that the regulations are likely to be enforced.

THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN HELP DRIVE OUT UNFAIR TRADERS.

If you reply (or have replied) to an advertisement on TV or press stating “3 vertical blinds for £99” or something similar, here is what you should expect:-

STANDARD EXPECTATION:- 3 vertical blinds of any size you need, made from non-transparent material, white or cream in colour, with the slats parting in the middle, delivered to your house, and all fully fitted, for the total price of £99.

Any deviation from this MUST be covered by a warning in the advert.

94% of the vertical blinds sold for domestic use are white or cream.

You therefore have every right to expect these colours to be available.

Almost every vertical blind sold for domestic use has slats which part in the middle.

You therefore have every right to expect this feature to be included in the price.

“Fitness for stated purpose”. Window blinds have two purposes (a) to provide protection from ultra-violet light so as to prevent fading of furniture and flooring (b) to provide privacy. See-through fabrics do neither.
You have every right to expect fabric which provides this protection.

It is customary for blind prices to include delivery and fitting.

You have every right to expect these to be included in the price of £99.

So, if you have a salesman call as a result of a “3 for £99” advertisement on TV or elsewhere and when he visits your home, and you are not offered the “STANDARD EXPECTATION” above, report the matter to your local Trading Standards Office immediately.Contact numbers are given under.

North Ayrshire
01294 – 324950
tradingstandards@north-ayrshire.gov.uk

Feedback form

South Ayrshire
01292 – 616060
cabac@south-ayrshire.gov.uk

East Ayrshire
01563 – 521502
tradingstandards@east-ayrshire.gov.uk