Supermarket price deception

A consumer watchdog has called for tougher government guidelines on supermarket pricing after uncovering tactics it claims are misleading shoppers

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Government says 'no plans to change supermarket pricing regulations'

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has said supermarket pricing regulations were "robust" and there were no plans to change them after consumer watchdog Which? found supermarkets were using "dodgy tactics" when pricing offers. He said:

To help businesses, enforcers and consumers, the Government issued a Pricing Practices Guide in 2010 with specific advice on how to avoid misleading consumers on price including, among other things, special promotions.

If consumers are misled, traders may face enforcement action from trading standards for breach of the legislation. The Government believes that the existing regulatory framework is robust and has no plans to change it."

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Ocado: 'Measures are in place to ensure pricing is accurate'

Which? found supermarket delivery service Ocado had increased the price of strawberries from £3.89 to £4.38 for 13 days and then sold them stating "Was £4.38 now £2.19/£2.29/£2.25" across a 112-day period, although there were nine days during this time when they were sold at £4.38. Ocado said:

Regrettably on this one isolated occasion this specific promotion did not explain our offer in the required detail.

Measures have now been put in place to ensure this doesn't happen again and we continue to heavily monitor our processes accordingly.

Tesco admits 'making a mistake' over supermarket tactics

Tesco apologises for supermarket pricing tactics Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

Tesco has admitted "making mistakes" after a consumer watchdog reported that supermarkets were using "dodgy tactics" to fix the price of offers on sale. Tesco said:

"We change millions of price labels in store and online each week and we sometimes make mistakes, for which we apologise. We make every effort to ensure we act in accordance with government guidelines on price promotions."

Asda 'sorry' over supermarket tactics

Asda supermarket has apologised after a consumer watchdog found more than 700,000 supermarket prices were using "dodgy tactics" leading consumers to believe they are getting a better deal than they really are.

We are only human and occasionally we make mistakes. By and large our systems and procedures ensure those instances are kept to an absolute minimum, but when we do get it wrong we put our hands up to say sorry and put things right as quickly as possible.

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Government urged to tighten guidelines on pricing

A which? investigation found some supermarkets increased the price of products immediately before placing them on offer to make the discount appear more significant.

"At a time when household budgets are squeezed and food bills are going up, many people are on the look out for a bargain''

''It's unacceptable that shoppers are confused into thinking they're getting a good deal when that might not be the case''

"Consumers shouldn't have to worry about whether a special offer is really 'special', so we want the supermarkets to play fair and the Government to tighten up pricing guidelines so that people can shop with confidence"

– Which? Executive Director Richard Lloyd

Claims shoppers are being misled by supermarket pricing

Individual items became more expensive as the product became a multi-buy offer according to a Which? survey. In the findings Asda doubled the price of a single Muller yoghurt from 30p to 61p as it offered 10 for £4.

The price returned to 30p when the offer ended, meaning the yoghurt cost more per item under the multibuy offer than a single pot did before or after it was on offer

Which? says it appears some supermarkets have increased the price of products immediately before placing them on offer to make the discount appear more significant

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