The Dufresne Group to pay $3.25 million penalty to settle Competition Bureau concerns over marketing claims
September 27, 2023 – GATINEAU, QC – Competition Bureau
A Competition Bureau investigation concluded that The Dufresne Group Inc. (TDG) and its affiliates, better known for their retail brands Dufresne Furniture and Appliances and certain Ashley HomeStores, offered certain products at inflated regular prices and then advertised them at big discounts, suggesting significant savings to consumers.
The Bureau also found that they made marketing claims to consumers that gave the false or misleading impression that deals on certain products would no longer be available after a certain time, when this was not the case. For example, the deal was still available after a countdown timer expired.
The companies made both types of claims on their websites, in-store and via various advertising channels.
The Bureau acknowledges TDG’s voluntary cooperation in resolving this matter.
As part of this settlement, The Dufresne Group Inc., and its affiliates (TDG Furniture Inc., DFA Operations Inc., DF Swan Ltd. and Furniture Investment Group Inc.) agree to:
- pay a $3.25 million penalty and $100,000 towards the Competition Bureau's costs to resolve concerns over their marketing practices in Canada
- commit to have their marketing practices comply with the Competition Act
- establish and maintain a corporate compliance program to promote compliance with the law
“Tactics that pressure consumers to make a purchase quickly, like limited time offers, must be truthful. All businesses in Canada should review their marketing practices and make sure they comply with the law. Taking action against deceptive marketing practices remains one of our highest priorities.”
Commissioner of Competition
“Limited time offers” and “countdown clocks”, types of urgency cues, could create the false or misleading impression that consumers must purchase a product quickly prior to the end of a promotion when, in fact, the promotion is renewed or replaced by another.
The ordinary selling price provisions of the Competition Act aim to ensure that when products are promoted at sale prices, the deals are not based on inflated regular prices.
The Bureau strongly encourages anyone who suspects that a company or individual is making deceptive marketing claims to report it by using our online complaint form.
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The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that protects and promotes competition for the benefit of Canadian consumers and businesses. Competition drives lower prices and innovation while fueling economic growth.
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