Was/Now Advertising: Is your promotional sale legal?

Was/Now Advertising: Is your promotional sale legal?

It is common practice for retailers to advertise with “was/now” pricing on their products – for example, a suit that “was $300” and is “now $250” suggests a saving of $50.  This method of comparative advertising is a great way to show consumers how much they are saving in a sale or special promotional offer.

However, make sure that your “was/now” pricing can be substantiated.  Looking back through our archives, one case that comes to light is when, the ACCC had reasonable grounds to believe that clothing/apparel retailer Charles Tyrwhitt made false or misleading representations in relation to their “was/now” prices on their online retail store.  Charles Tyrwhitt paid a $10,800 penalty for being issued with this infringement notice.

It is important to ensure that items advertised using “was/now” have genuinely been offered at the “was” price for a reasonable period of time, immediately before the sale or promotion.  In the Charles Tyrwhitt case, the ACCC considered factors such as:

  • how difficult the item was to locate the item at the “was” price (on the website);
  • the time period that the item was advertised at the “was” price; and
  • whether any consumer had ever purchased the item at the “was” price.

Before advertising with a “was/now” representation, make sure you consider whether your offer is accurate and well-substantiated.

If you need advice about your sales, promotions or offers or any other advice regarding the legalities of your marketing and advertising techniques, contact me on  or call me at 1300 033 934 for a no-obligation quote.

Source: ACCC