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28 August 2020

No card, no discount: New World limits “Club Deals” to card-carrying customers

Why we think New World shoppers are being misled by the store’s Clubcard price labels.

New World shoppers who don’t sign up for the store’s Clubcard are no longer getting “Club Deal” prices at the checkout.

Since the supermarket rolled out its Clubcard in 2016, checkout staff have been able to swipe a card if a customer didn’t have their own. However, staff are no longer allowed to do this.

The “No Clubcard, no Club Deal” rule has riled some customers and we think they’ve got good grounds for complaint.

Price labels we’ve seen in-store for Clubcard deals prominently display one price: the Clubcard price. We think it’s reasonable to assume that’s what you’ll pay at the checkout. The “regular” price is shown on the label but it’s in much smaller font – you almost need to squint to see it.

The confusion doesn’t end there. A product that’s a “Club Deal” one week may be labelled a “Saver” the next, even though the price hasn’t changed. You need a card to get the Club Deal price but not to get the Saver price even when it’s the same amount – confused yet?

Deal or no deal?

New World defended the changes to us, stating “after four years, and lots of recent communication to customers letting them know we would be removing temporary Clubcards at check out, the time has finally come”. Customers who don’t have a Clubcard “will be charged the standard retail price”.

The store said “Club Deals are prominently displayed on shelves with clear ticket pricing” and it’s free to join Clubcard – customers “simply need to sign up”.

We disagree the labels are clear: they don’t prominently show the “regular” price you’ll be charged if you don’t have a card. We think they risk misleading consumers and we’ll be making a complaint to the Commerce Commission.

There are valid reasons why customers may choose to not sign up for a Clubcard. One of them is they don’t want to share personal data with the supermarket – and why should they have to?

New World reserves the right to collect a range of information about Clubcard customers, including their age, where they live, their mobile location data and purchasing preferences. This data can also be shared with various undisclosed third parties.

Requiring customers to sign up for a Clubcard to get “deals” checkout staff used to give them anyway, sounds to us a little bit like a data grab.

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Can you help?

Have you been misled by a less than “special” supermarket deal? Have you noticed routinely discounted items being advertised as “special” offers? Have you got examples of confusing pricing from your local supermarket?

Let us know. Support our campaign for fair supermarket prices by sending your examples to [email protected].

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