Hoover faces ‘dirty tricks’ claim

Hoover Group is being threatened with legal action by British rival Dyson Appliances, for

starting a “dirty tricks” camp-aign to win back its declining share in the vacuum cleaner market.

Dyson claims that Hoover has distributed a pamphlet which slates its products, criticising product reliability and performance. The pamphlet, headed with Dyson’s strapline, “Say goodbye to the bag”, makes a series of comparisons between Hoover and Dyson products claiming Dyson’s are inferior.

Founder John Dyson says he has been informed by the head offices of Scottish Hydro, Comet and Currys that the pamphlets have been issued to all stores. Dyson is considering legal action, saying the Hoover claims are inaccurate and the pamphlet’s distribution is, “a very unfair and very underhand trick”.

Dyson contests Hoover’s claim that tests have shown Dyson’s “hissing” warning signal – indicating the vacuum cleaner is full – can be difficult to hear. In reality, the Dyson product has not used a hissing warning signal in its vacuum cleaner range in the two years since its launch, says Dyson. “We don’t mind Hoover salesmen being misled but we strongly object to shop staff being misled,” he adds.

Hoover admits that a document entitled “Say goodbye to the bag” has been printed, but Mike Rutter, its vice president of European marketing and sales, says it was an internal training document.

He says the pamphlet was “not distributed by Hoover” to any retailers and that the superior performance claims for the Hoover line have been verified by independent tests.

April figures from research group GFK Lektrak show that Dyson now has 56 per cent of the market by value for upright cleaners costing over 180. Hoover, which last April had 50.4 per cent market share, now has 14.9 per cent.

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