Wednesday, April 24, 2024

CHOICE calls out ‘confusing’ supermarket pricing

One in four surveyed shoppers think some Coles and Woolworths ‘specials’ make it hard to tell if you’re getting a genuine discount.

This insight comes from a new survey, conducted by CHOICE, of almost 11,000 Australians.

CHOICE Senior Campaigns and Policy Advisor Bea Sherwood says while the two major supermarkets each post over a billion dollars in profit, many households are at breaking point from the rising cost of food.

“To make matters worse, supermarkets are using a number of confusing promotional practices that make it very difficult for customers to work out if they’re actually saving money on their groceries or not,” she says.

“Over the past year, CHOICE has found countless examples of dodgy and confusing specials at both Coles and Woolworths. In December last year, Coles was forced to apologise after we caught them red-handed raising prices on products they had promised would remain ‘locked’ for a certain period of time.”

CHOICE has made a submission to the inquiry by the Senate Select Committee on Supermarket Prices and is calling on the government to force supermarkets to use fair and transparent pricing.

The consumer advocacy group has made a number of recommendations, including:

  • Banning unfair pricing practices, such as ‘member-only’ discounts
  • Introducing rules about discounts or other promotion, and how these should be presented
  • Enforcing and expanding the Grocery Unit Pricing Code
  • Requiring supermarkets to publish historical grocery pricing information
  • Reforming competition and consumer laws to make sure the ACCC has the powers it needs to hold supermarkets to account.

“Consumers deserve clear and transparent pricing so they can be sure they’re actually getting value for money,” says Ms Sherwood.

“We need new rules to force the supermarkets to provide this transparency, as well as powers for the regulator to make sure the supermarket giants are playing fair.”

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