Calls for an in­quiry over su­per­mar­ket ‘of­fers’

Tameside Advertiser - - VIEWPOINTS -

Todd Fitzger­ald at two for £3. It went back to £1.50 af­ter the of­fer ended.

One in­stance of sea­sonal pric­ing was tack­led in 2013 when Tesco was fined £300,000 over a straw­berry pro­mo­tion – that was said to have net­ted the chain £2.3m in prof­its – fol­low­ing a com­plaint from a cus­tomer.

Pro­mo­tions have be­come more widely used in the in­dus­try as ma­jor su­per­mar­kets cut prices to fight losses in mar­ket share to dis­coun­ters such as Aldi and Lidl.

Which? has cat­a­logued a range of mis­lead­ing pric­ing prac­tices over the last seven years and passed a re­port of its find­ings to the CMA.

Ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Richard Lloyd said: “De­spite Which? re­peat­edly ex­pos­ing mis­lead­ing and con­fus­ing pric­ing tac­tics, and call­ing for vol­un­tary change by the re­tail- ers, th­ese dodgy of­fers re­main on nu­mer­ous su­per­mar­ket shelves.

“Shop­pers think they’re get­ting a bar­gain but in re­al­ity it’s im­pos­si­ble for any con­sumer to know if they’re gen­uinely get­ting a fair deal.

“We’re say­ing enough is enough and us­ing one of the most pow­er­ful legal weapons in our ar­moury to act on be­half of con­sumers by launch­ing a su­per-com­plaint to the reg­u­la­tor.

“We want an end to mis­lead­ing pric­ing tac­tics and for all re­tail­ers to use fair pric­ing that peo­ple can trust.”

The M.E.N. re­vealed the hid­den world of ‘shrink­fla­tion’ – the dark art of mak­ing prod­ucts smaller while keep­ing them at the same price – in Jan­uary.

The Of­fice for Na­tional Statis­tics con­firmed con­fec­tionery prod­ucts were re­duc­ing in size, mean­ing con­sumers get less for their money.

Manch­ester re­tail ex­pert John Pal says most things in our weekly shop­ping bas­ket are get­ting smaller, de­spite prices re­main­ing the same.

And while there are a raft of rea­sons be­hind the changes, the bot­tom line is boost­ing prof­its, said John, a se­nior lec­turer at Manch­ester Busi­ness School.

He said: “It’s quite an un­usual move from Which?

“The penal­ties can be quite Dra­co­nian, so I’m sur­prised su­per­mar­kets have let them­selves fall into this trap in what looks like the mis­lead­ing of cus­tomers.

“The su­per­mar­kets en­tered into a vol­un­tary code of con­duct in 2012, but it seems as though Which? has got ev­i­dence that flies in the face of that.”

The Bri­tish Re­tail Con­sor­tium, which rep­re­sents many chains, re­jected the su­per-com­plaint.

Tom Ironside, direc­tor of busi­ness and reg­u­la­tion, said: “We do not ac­cept the core im­pli­ca­tions set out in this su­per­com­plaint.

“The ex­am­ples set out are very spe­cific in na­ture and are not in any way in­dica­tive of broader sys­temic prob­lems across the re­tail in­dus­try.

“With thou­sands of prod­ucts in store ev­ery day, er­rors may from timeto-time oc­cur, how­ever th­ese are rare in na­ture and are re­solved quickly.”

●● Su­per­mar­kets face ques­tions over ‘rip­ping off’ cus­tomers

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.