SOK (Suomen Osuuskauppojen Keskuskunta) markets the accumulation of bonus points to consumers by telling them how many bonus purchases they have accumulated in a month and how much more they need to purchase during the month to achieve a higher bonus level. The Group communicated the accumulation of bonus points to consumers through a monthly newsletter and the S-mobiili application, S-kanava service, and other online services of the S-Group.
In the opinion of the Consumer Ombudsman, this constituted misleading marketing, since all purchases that accumulated bonus points had not necessarily been included in the sum reported to the consumer. For example, purchases made from partners and paid with an invoice are only registered in the bonus accumulation on the last days of the month in which the invoice was paid.
The Consumer Ombudsman ordered SOK to clarify its communication so that this fact is indicated clearly enough in marketing. In the summer of 2017, SOK updated its communications channels with a notice stating that purchases made from partners and paid with an invoice will only be registered in the bonus accumulation on the last days of the month in which the invoice was paid. In addition, SOK undertook to clarify its communications on the monetary amount missing from the next bonus percentage level in order to make it easier for co-op members to understand that the figure may not include payments registered in the bonus accumulation with a delay.