We all have to shop for our food, drink and essential items every week. Another depressing report indicates that the public are not having value for money a lot of the time, especially in the supermarkets.
All the big eight, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer, Aldi, the Co-operative and Lidl, are still selling products with "dodgy discounts and misleading multibuys", according to Which?. The consumer group analysed the prices of more than 70,000 groceries and said it found examples of "misleading multibuys that could cost you more and dodgy discounts where the offer ran for much longer than the item was at the higher price".
In November 2012, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer, Aldi, the Co-operative and Lidl all agreed to incorporate the new principles – drawn up by the Office of Fair Trading – into their policies, to ensure promotions are "fair and meaningful".
After the latest findings, retailers insisted the promotions in question were genuine mistakes rather than a deliberate attempt to mislead shoppers. The British Retail Consortium, which represents the supermarket industry, said: "Across the tens of thousands of promotions available every day, regrettably, occasional errors do slip through. Retailers work very quickly to rectify these mistakes whenever they are found".
Sainsbury's said: "We are absolutely committed to fair and transparent promotions and carry out regular audits and thorough training on this." Asda said in a statement: "We take pricing seriously, and we've recently employed a new team within the business that looks at all aspects of our pricing process and pricing practices in store and online. Sometimes mistakes can happen, but we would never deliberately mislead our customers – our aim is always to offer the lowest prices for the longest".
So after all these promises and apologies what, if anything is being done? Not a lot so far as I can see. Why has no progress been made after a year of promises? Our money has to stretch further than ever especially on food and drink. Last month, the wine offers were taken to task. This week it may be yogurts, toilet rolls, tea bags,many incorrectly advertised as "offers". The shelf end labels SEL, are sometimes not removed by staff after the offer has ended and then the item goes through the till at a higher price. One thing I always do is look at the unit price on the SEL label, this indicates now much the individual item is retailing at. I then decide if the offer really is one.
According to the Office of Fair Trading, grocery shopping accounts for some 44% of household spending. In these austere times, every penny counts and so for traders to keep misleading the public, or making unforeseen errors as they say, this cannot be allowed go on. Perhaps the above eight retailers would be happy for every household to receive a goodwill voucher from a supermarket of our choice to make up for the lost revenue we have wasted through no fault of our own!