The end of bogus supermarket offers?

trolley in supermarket on pale blurry background

trolley in supermarket on pale blurry backgroundDiscount price ‘cons’ that tempt shoppers with claims of savings are to be put to an end as new rules are introduced from The Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The crackdown comes as investigations by consumer groups revealed that many supermarkets artificially inflate prices on some products, so that the ‘discounts’ they offer look better value than they actually are.

Eight chains have confirmed that they will sign up to the new scheme: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Co-op, M&S, Waitrose, Aldi and Lidl.

But no Asda in the mix? The Wal-Mart owned chain has refused to agree to the new principles on promotions (yet) as it’s not convinced it will help customers. However they did suggest they may still sign up, but are “Taking time to consider the recommendations in detail.” Bit suspicious though eh?

OFT says although there isn’t firm evidence that stores are guilty of illegal tactics, it will ensure that they adhere to the law and there was enough suspicion of crafty practice for the OFT to act.

We recently reported on the Which? investigation where they compared the price of over 100 popular products at major supermarkets over 12 months. Not only did they find that many of the multibuy deals didn’t save you money – around one in 10 products actually cost more when included in the deals!

So what does this mean for my weekly shop?

Hopefully this should mean good news for shoppers. When the kids are screeching and you grab those ‘bargain’ packs of sausage rolls because they were on offer, you should now be assured you’re getting a good deal – rather than a bogus duff offer that doesn’t really save you a thing.

The OFT have set down some rules for supermarkets to abide by, including those offers that say “half price” or “was £3, now £2” must now be sold at the new discount price for the same or less time than the previously higher price.

Plus products that have pre-printed claims on products (such as “bigger pack, better value”) must be true.

From now on any store which breaks the rules could be prosecuted under the consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

OFT chief executive Clive Maxwell says: “Shoppers should trust special offers and promotions really are bargains.

“Prices and promotions need to be fair and meaningful. Nowhere is this more important than during regular shopping for groceries, which accounts for 44% of household spending.”

What do you think?

Consumer Sarj says: “Supermarkets take advantage of this brand loyalty and for a better word trick people into spending more. Soon all the independents will be wiped out with only major players left, then they will have us all over a barrel.

What’s your opinion? Have you been stung by sneaky supermarket offers? Leave your comments below.