Archived — Art supplies chain resolves Competition Bureau concerns over sale prices

OTTAWA, March 31, 2009 — The Competition Bureau announced today that Toronto-based Curry's Art Store Limited (Curry's) has agreed to pay an administrative monetary penalty of $60,000 and publish corrective notices in local media to resolve the Bureau's concerns over certain advertising practices by the company.

A Bureau investigation found that the nine-store chain may have misled consumers into believing they were receiving greater discounts than they actually were. Curry's ticketed its items with a manufacturer's suggested list price and a lower Curry's price. However, the stores never sold the products at the suggested list price.

Curry's advertising practices raised concerns under the ordinary selling price provisions of the Competition Act. These provisions require that when products are advertised using comparative prices, they must have been sold in a significant quantity or for a reasonable period of time at the regular price. This is to ensure that consumers are not misled about the savings they are actually receiving.

"The Bureau is committed to ensuring that consumers are not enticed to make purchases based on misleading information," said Andrea Rosen, Deputy Commissioner of Competition. "Truth in advertising is fundamental to fair and vigorous competition and to a marketplace that consumers can trust."

Under the 10-year consent agreement reached with the Bureau, Curry's is also required to:

  • display a corrective notice in its retail stores, holiday guide and on its Web site;
  • ensure that all future price advertising complies with the misleading advertising and ordinary selling price provisions of the Competition Act;
  • develop and implement a corporate compliance program designed to ensure compliance with the Competition Act.

Following the Bureau's investigation, Curry's has voluntarily taken steps to correct its advertising practices to conform with the law. This cooperation, along with the consent agreement, has resolved the Bureau's concerns.

The Competition Bureau is an independent agency that contributes to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice.


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