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Misleading pricing practices - Which? super-complaint

Consumers should be able to have confidence that they can use pricing to accurately identify the cheapest product and rely on special offers and discounts to be genuine

Which? investigations over successive years have repeatedly uncovered pricing practices in the grocery sector that inhibit consumers’ ability to choose the best deal for their needs. These practices are a problem in their own right, but cumulatively have an even greater impact. In April 2015 Which? submitted a super-complaint to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on misleading and opaque pricing practices. The paper highlighted in particular:

confusing and misleading special offers that make extensive use of price framing including reference pricing, volume offers and free offers;

a lack of easily comparable prices because of the limitations of unit pricing; and

reductions in pack sizes without any corresponding price change.

This paper also asked the CMA to examine the impact of price matching, whereby supermarkets compare their own prices with their competitors and, in some cases, offer to reimburse customers if the products they bought could have been bought elsewhere at a lower price.

See our full report:

Misleading pricing practices - Which? super-complaint 4883 Kb

See the response to our super-complaint: 

Misleading Pricing Practices - Which? super-complaint response 1307 Kb

 

This annex to the super-complaint on misleading price practices highlights findings from various Which? investigations into supermarket special offers which uncovered numerous offers that breached government guidelines and could have misled consumers.

Misleading pricing practices - super-complaint annexe 2243 Kb