A new code has been signed by leading supermarkets, aiming to ensure that the special offers are not misleading to the customers.
After a research of the Office of Fair Trading, which showed that in some cases the pricing and the conditions of a special offer are displayed in a confusing way. For that reason the OFT drawn up the new rules in an attempt to cut confusing offers.
The biggest UK supermarkets, such as Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, the Co-op, Lidl, Aldi and Waitrose voluntarily signed the new code, however Asda (The UK`s second largest supermarket) refused to do so.
According to the new rules, supermarkets should have special offers such as “half price” or “was £3, now £2″, only in cases when the offer period is shorter than the period for which the product has been sold at its original price. There are also regulations, trying to prevent forced price inflating, with the intention to make offers at at a later stage, which seem as a great deal, because of the “discount”. Also, supermarkets will not be allowed to use promotions such as “new bigger pack” or “50% more”, in case this is not actually true.
Although the OFT did not find any supermarkets breaching the law, they say they had identified “what appeared to be inconsistency in the way the law was being interpreted and applied”.
OFT chief executive Clive Maxwell said: “Household budgets across the country are under pressure and shoppers should be able to trust that special offers and promotions really are bargains.
“Prices and promotions need to be fair and meaningful so shoppers can make the right decisions.”
The news was however met with scepticism from some quarters. Bryan Roberts, insights director at Kantar Retail, said: “I think even with a new voluntary code and greater regulation it will still be incredibly confusing for consumers to ascertain what value for money looks like and what is a bargain and what is not. Even if there is a lot more transparency, most shoppers will still need a calculator to work their way around a store.”
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