CMA investigates Wowcher over misleading online ‘urgency’ claims

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will investigate whether Wowcher has misled consumers by using countdown timers and other urgency claims.

The watchdog is looking at whether the practice has placed “unfair pressure” on shoppers to complete their purchases quickly.

The probe marks the next stage in the CMA’s programme of enforcement work focusing on so-called ‘Online Choice Architecture’, which aims to tackle potentially harmful online selling practices.

The probe comes after the watchdog recently announced a crackdown on online pressure-selling tactics retailers use to potentially speed up decision-making.


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It follows the launch of the CMA’s investigation into Emma Sleep in late 2022.

The investigation of Wowcher will also look at other online selling practices used by the firm, including how it enrolls consumers in its membership scheme.

“People who buy online should not be pressurised by practices implying that they must act quickly to avoid missing out, when this is not the case,” CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell said.

“We’ll be scrutinising these claims from Wowcher and if we find the company is using misleading online selling tactics, we won’t hesitate to take enforcement action – through the courts if necessary.

“This is the second investigation we have opened into urgency claims – which can be a type of pressure selling – and all companies should take note and review their own practices.

“We’ve published advice to help with this, which sets out clearly those online urgency and price reduction claims that are likely to mislead or put unfair pressure on consumers.”

A Wowcher spokesman said: “Wowcher’s mission has always been to help save our customers’ money with the best, exclusive offers from thousands of our merchants across the UK.”

“This has never been more important than in this challenging economic environment.

“We support the aims of the CMA’s investigation and will work with them to ensure that our customers have the best possible experience when they shop with us.”

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