Which? calls for an end to dodgy supermarket pricing tactics

1 min Read Published: 21 Apr 2015

Which? calls for an end to dodgy supermarket pricing tactics

empty shopping trolleyThe consumer campaigner Which? has lodged a super-complaint to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) about the pricing practices of UK supermarkets.

From dodgy multi-buys to baffling sales offers, many supermarkets are creating the illusion of savings that don't exist. These tactics mislead shoppers into making purchases that they would not otherwise make if they new the full facts of the offer.

What is a super-complaint?

Which? has repeatedly raised the issue of unfair and misleading pricing practices in the grocery sector but little has changed. So Which? are now using their legal powers to lodge a 'super-complaint' in the hope that action will finally be taken to protect consumers. A super-complaint can only be lodged by an approved watchdog organisation if there is belief that practices in a market in the UK are harming the interests of consumers.

What pricing tactics are Which? complaining about?

About 40% of groceries in Great Britain are currently sold on promotion. With £115 billion spent on groceries in 2013, shoppers could potentially be overspending by millions of pounds on misleading offers.

Some of the main misleading offers are:

Multi-buys - prices are increased when items are going on multi-buy so that the actual saving is less than claimed. Which? have evidence of price increases just before items go multi-buy and decreased to the earlier price once the multi-buy offer ends.

Larger pack better value - where the individual item price of the bigger pack is actually more expensive. Often these larger packs are labelled 'extra value".

Seasonal offers - where a higher price was offered for a short period of time out of season (e.g. Easter eggs in January)  and then shown as 'reduced' when offered in the correct season.

Which? have an online petition to support their campaign which you can sign here