Retailers busted over price offers

retailers busted over price offersIt is perhaps one of the oldest tricks in the books, but at last a new investigation has lifted the lid on how retailers break the law by using “fake” promotions to lure customers into buying more groceries.
According to Which? products are being advertised as “on offer” for longer than they were sold at full price, leaving shoppers with a false impression of getting a good deal.
The rules on price promotion are nearly as complex as the plotline in a David Lynch film but basically the law states that the time a product is advertised at a discount must not exceed the amount of time it is sold at full price.
Products are generally sold at one branch for a given time period before they can be called a “special offer” in another.
But Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said supermarkets were pulling the wool over shoppers’ eyes with dodgy discounts that create “the illusion of savings that don’t exist and manipulate consumers’ spending”.
In its research Which? highlighted two instances in supermarket appeared to break the rules.
A two litre pack of Pepsi Max was sold at £1.98 in Morrisons for 28 days and then reduced to £1 for 63 days under the tagline “was £1.98″. A spokesman for the supermarket said the product was at the normal price for more than six months.
Superdrug offered Garnier Ambre Solaire Clear Protect Spray SPF 15 200ml at £7.49 (in some cases £7.48) for 167 days with the tagline “was £14.99″, despite being sold at the higher price for just 63 days.
Which? has submitted the evidence to the Competition & Markets Authority as it pushes for a formal investigation into supermarket rip-offs, which it says cost shoppers hundreds of millions of pounds every year. A decision over whether to press ahead with is expected in June.
Supermarkets have insisted that instances of misleading pricing are rare and are usually the result of an error.
A spokesman for the British Retail Consortium said the examples were “very specific in nature” and “not in any way indicative of broader systemic problems across the retail industry”.

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