Scottish Daily Mail

Misleading prices add £85m to our shopping bills

- By Stuart MacDonald

misleading pricing in supermarke­ts and local stores is costing scottish shoppers up to £85million a year.

Trading standards officers from 23 local councils found many items cost more at the till than their shelf price indicated.

as part of a probe aimed at protecting consumers amid the cost of living crisis, they also looked at unit prices, which allow consumers to compare products. in 118 visits to supermarke­t chains and 228 to small or medium-sized convenienc­e stores, almost 50,000 products were checked.

errors included a packet of Walkers sensations crisps priced at £1.50 costing £2.25 at the till and Persil detergent advertised at £11 costing £13.50.

more than 4 per cent of supermarke­t goods were not priced at all and 6.5 per cent had incorrect unit pricing. in addition, 3.7 per cent were wrongly charged at the checkout – with three-quarters costing more.

For medium and smaller stores the situation was worse, with more than 14 per cent of products incorrectl­y priced and almost 10 per cent wrongly charged at the till, the majority to the detriment of the consumer.

david macKenzie, of the society of Chief Officers of Trading standards in scotland, said: ‘Transparen­cy in pricing is at the heart of fair trade in goods. With the cost of living crisis, it is even more important that consumers pay the correct amount for their shopping.

‘my advice to shoppers is always check prices carefully in store and make sure you have been properly charged at the till.’

excuses given by managers at the stores included staff shortages, human error and lack of staff awareness around legal requiremen­ts.

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