Which? tells supermarkets to stop misleading their customers
28 August 2019
The Consumers’ Association charity found that supermarkets are still using misleading discounts and deals despite rules put in place to prevent this.
The group found fault in most of the major supermarkets in the UK. They found multi-buy offers that ended up costing the consumers more and ‘special price’ items which are sold at the exact same ‘special price’ most of the year.
Which? examined pricing data from May 2018 to June 2019 on over 450 products in seven of the UK’s biggest supermarkets; Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose, Iceland and Ocado. It found various misleading deals including an Iceland multi-buy which offered two packets of Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut for £4 or £2 each. The week prior to the offer, the same product had been priced at £1.49.
It also found Asda guilty, it offered Wall’s Carte D’Or Strawberry Ice Cream with the promotion “was £3.50 now £2”/ Which? found that the product had been priced at £2 for about eight months. The supposedly ‘special’ offer lasted one third of that time.
Supermarkets first came under fire in 2015, when Which? investigation led the government to legislate new guidance to guarantee pricing strategies were compliant with consumer law.
The rules say that information presented by the retailer to the consumer should be fair and will not cause annoyance, disappointment or regret. It should also never encourage a consumer to overspend or purchase a product that is not suited to them.
Head of home products and services at Which?, Natalie Hitchins said: "Four years on... many of the big supermarkets are clearly still in the wrong, with numerous examples of dodgy discounts and never-ending offers.
"These retailers must stop tricking shoppers with deceptive deals... if not, the CMA must intervene to ensure that pricing guidelines are followed."
She said that Which? would be reporting their findings to the CMA (Consumer and Markets Authority).
Iceland responded by claiming it would review its promotional calendar. Asda, however, rejected the notion that their pricing was misleading. No other supermarkets commented.