Consumer NZ are going hand-in-hand with the Commerce Commission’s announcement to target retailers’ misleading pricing practices, such as constant sales and exaggerated discounts.
Investigations by Consumer NZ have found that, “stores [are] routinely promoting the same items as ‘specials’, giving consumers a misleading impression about the savings available. If a product is regularly discounted, the retailer can’t claim a reduced price is all that special,” says chief executive Sue Chetwin.
Consumer NZ reports that special offers are so prevalent that over half of the products in their 2016 Supermarket Price Survey were regularly on promotion.
Chetwin further adds that retailers make use of the “special offers” tactic to lure customers with the promise of a bargain. This is problematic because it misleads the customer into thinking they are getting a discount, however if the products are actually on special so often, then the “savings” when trying to take advantage of an offer are not exactly genuine. Consumer NZ has called for regular price monitoring to ensure that customers are not being duped by “specials”.
The Commerce Commission has written an open letter to all retailers, reminding them that the Fair trading Act prohibits misleading pricing practices. The Commission says the largest source of complaints last year was pricing.