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26 June 2023

Last chance to dob in a dodgy deal: Consumer NZ’s final call for examples of misleading supermarket pricing

In the last three weeks, Consumer NZ has received 118 examples of misleading pricing at supermarkets across Aotearoa.

It’s the final week for New Zealanders to share their photos and receipts as evidence of dodgy supermarket deals. The watchdog is accepting complaints until 30 June.

“We want to give the Commerce Commission as much evidence of misleading promotional practices as we possibly can,” says Gemma Rasmussen, head of advocacy and research at Consumer.

“Be wary of items on ‘special’, say yes to your receipt and send any examples of misleading pricing or pricing errors through the form on our website – all evidence will be shared with the Commerce Commission at the end of this month.”

Recent examples include:

  • Red onions advertised at $2.99 per kilo, overcharged at $8.99 per kilo - Pak’nSave, Hamilton
  • “Super saver” deal promotes 2 x broccoli for $6, yet one head of
    broccoli was $2.69 - New World, Wellington
  • 250ml Brancott Sauvignon Blanc on “special” for $5, with a saving of $0.99, yet the original price was $4.99 - Countdown, Wellington

Consumer believes shoppers should be able to confidently compare products, and trust that the items on “special” are genuinely good deals.

“At the end of the day, our research shows pricing and promotional practices are not as simple and easy to understand as they should be. New Zealanders are losing trust in an essential service, and we want to see that trust restored,” says Rasmussen.

A tiny fraction of a bigger problem

Since last September, Consumer has received 564 examples of dodgy pricing across Foodstuffs and Woolworth stores.

When asked to compare this number to the millions of transactions supermarkets process daily, Rasmussen says, “the evidence we have is clearly coming from New Zealanders who are actively on the look-out for pricing errors.”

“Obviously the examples we’ve collected are a tiny fraction of what we believe is a bigger problem. We appreciate the effort New Zealanders have taken to share photos and evidence with us so far.”

The need for fair pricing in a cost-of-living crisis

Supermarkets understand the persuasiveness of a “special” or “everyday low” price. A poll on the watchdog’s website finds that 96% of respondents actively look out for specials – a percentage that has increased since January this year.

“Whether its food, fuel or finances – it's important to ensure that essential service industries aren’t profiting from their mistakes at the expense of New Zealanders, particularly in challenging economic times.”

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