Choice urges Aussies to call out ‘fake’ price tricks

Choice is calling on Australians to resist “fake” supermarket price tricks by telling the Treasury to reform unit pricing.

Unit prices are the shop labels that show prices per litre/grams/kilograms, etc. They therefore give a true comparison of cost between different pack sizes.

Not-for-profit consumer organisation Choice surveyed Australians on their use of unit pricing. Choice found that the majority of Australian consumers like and use unit pricing – but that 64 per cent of them sometimes have difficulty using it.

According to the survey, the most common problems with unit pricing are:

  • Different units of measure for the same products.
  • Difficult-to-read or obscured/covered unit pricing.
  • Unit pricing not displayed at all.

Warning for retailers

Choice is calling on Australians to stand up against fake supermarket price tricks by telling the Treasury to strengthen and enforce the unit pricing system.

The Treasury has launched its own consumer survey, seeking feedback on unit pricing.

“The research couldn’t be clearer,” Choice Food and Health Expert Linda Przhedetsky said. “Australians value unit pricing and want to see it improved so that they can easily make comparisons in the supermarket.

“By taking a few minutes to complete the Treasury’s survey, Australians can stand up to the supermarkets and their price tricks. The overwhelming majority of people find unit pricing helpful.

“It’s now up to the government to update the rules to ensure shoppers can compare prices, whether they be in a hardware store, chemist or supermarket.”

‘Clear and readable’

Vision Australia Government Relations Manager Chris Edwards says unit pricing is a significant issue for people who are blind or have low vision.

“It’s really important for unit pricing to be displayed in a clear and readable font style,” Mr Edwards said. “And for font size to be as large as possible to maximise readability for people who have low vision, including many older Australians.

“With the increased availability of online shopping, it’s also important for unit pricing information to be a requirement on grocery shopping websites in a way that complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

“Being able to shop in the same way as everyone else is a fundamental right for people who are blind or have low vision. Unit pricing is just one way to make sure we’re not discriminated against when undertaking this fundamental activity.”

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