Push to make life eas­ier for shop­pers

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Federal Politics - JOHN ROLFE

NEED two litres of white paint? It is cheaper to buy a four-litre can than two onelitre tins, but many shop­pers wouldn’t know.

Got a job to do at home that re­quires 40 riv­ets? Buy­ing one pack of 100 will set you back less than two packs of 25.

These anom­alies emerge from anal­y­sis by the man who got unit prices onto su­per­mar­ket shelves.

He says it’s time to ex­pand the com­par­i­son sys­tem — and that do­ing so could save con­sumers tens of mil­lions of dol­lars a year.

“To me the fig­ures clearly show that it would be ben­e­fi­cial for shop­pers to know the unit price for many prod­ucts sold in hard­ware stores,” Ian Jar­ratt, an ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber of the Con­sumers Fed­er­a­tion of Aus­tralia (CFA), told The Satur­day Tele­graph.

Mr Jar­ratt (pic­tured) and other ad­vo­cates are mak­ing the case for an ex­pan­sion of the sys­tem to an of­fi­cial re­view of unit pric­ing cur­rently un­der way.

The Tele­graph can re­veal a na­tional sur­vey of shop­pers by con­sumer group Choice to sup­port its ar­gu­ment shows 86 per cent of Aus­tralians be­lieve unit prices should be ex­tended to stores not cov­ered by the code. “Unit pric­ing is an in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant tool for shop­pers to com­pare prod­ucts and save money,” Choice spokes­woman Katinka Day said.

Mr Jar­ratt, Choice and La­bor told The Tele­graph that they were con­cerned the re­view’s con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod of a month was too short.

Af­ter we raised these con­cerns with As­sis­tant Trea­surer Stu­art Robert, he de­cided to in­crease the con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod to three months, end­ing Fe­bru­ary 28.

The ex­ten­sion will “al­low more time for pub­lic in­put on the unit pric­ing code to en­sure that it con­tin­ues to achieve the ob­jec­tive of sup­port­ing Aus­tralian house­holds to save time and money,” Mr Robert said.

When The Tele­graph told Mr Jar­ratt of the de­ci­sion, he said: “What a suc­cess. It’s great we’ve got this ex­ten­sion.”

He said it would give him and oth­ers a bet­ter chance to make the case for widen­ing and im­prov­ing the sys­tem.

Op­po­si­tion con­sumer af­fairs spokes­woman Madeleine King said the re­view needed to con­sider how unit pric­ing “can fur­ther help Aus­tralians get a bet­ter deal at the check­out — in­clud­ing whether it’s vi­able to ex­tend the scheme to other re­tail out­lets”.

Con­sumers can par­tic­i­pate in the re­view at tinyurl.com/unit­pric­ing.

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