The Federal Association of Consumer Organizations has successfully sued the electronics retailer Saturn. The Kiel regional court has decided that the company must adjust its price tags. The reason: The stated amount included additional insurance.

Electronics retailer Saturn is not allowed to put price tags on electrical appliances that include additional insurance. This was decided by the Kiel Regional Court in the course of a lawsuit brought by the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations (vzbv).

The consumer protection organization had previously criticized the price information as misleading. The actual product price only appeared in a small print calculation example.

Saturn has to adjust price tags

“The case is an example of a practice that has been repeatedly observed in Saturn and MediaMarkt branches,” said David Bode, a consultant in the vzbv’s legal enforcement team.

Misleading price tags trick customers into buying a product into taking out expensive and often unnecessary insurance. The Kiel Regional Court's ruling is a welcome signal for more price transparency.

The background: The vzbv had criticized the price tag for a DVD player in a Saturn store in Kiel. In orange font, bold and highlighted, the price was 69.98 euros. Below, in much smaller letters, was written: “Price including Plus Guarantee*”.

In fact, the DVD player only cost 52.99 euros. At 16.99 euros, Saturn added more than 30 percent of the device price for the plus guarantee. This is additional insurance that applies in addition to the existing statutory warranty rights and the manufacturer's guarantee for product defects.

However, the surcharge for this was only visible in the small print and placed under the heading “Calculation example” in an orange box to the left of the total price.

Price tag was misleading

The Kiel Regional Court agreed with the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations that this price presentation is misleading and violates the Price Information Ordinance. In principle, specifying a total price for such combination offers is permitted. However, there is a lack of transparency regarding the controversial price tag.

According to the ruling, it was not clearly stated clearly enough that the total price includes the conclusion of paid insurance. Consumers would also not expect the highlighted price to go beyond the device price.

The price tag gives the impression that the price of 69.98 euros applies to the DVD player alone. According to vzbv, this could in turn lead to the assumption that it is a higher quality product. The fact that taking out the Plus Guarantee is optional and that the device is cheaper without insurance is also not sufficiently understandable.

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