Supermarket giant Asda has come under fire for bombarding customers with confusing and mis-leading promotions, which makes it difficult for consumers to see if they are actually getting a real deal.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said Asda, along with other supermarkets, was unable to demonstrate whether deals were genuine and it was not clear to consumers what savings were being made when buying the products on multi-buy or priced on a was/now basis.
Following CMA’s intervention, shoppers will no longer see deals where a sale price is displayed for longer than the original price. Multi-buy offers will represent better value than a singular product before the offer was applied and multi-buy offers will not be immediately followed by was/now promotions.
Asda has already agreed to make these changes and other supermarkets are expected to follow.
The CMA said the changes will increase consumer confidence that they are buying into real deals and allow them to make an informed decision, by allowing them to make a proper comparison.
Michael Grenfell, CMA executive director, enforcement, said: “The CMA’s examination of the market, following the super-complaint, found that supermarkets generally take compliance seriously, but there were some promotional practices that could mislead shoppers.”
“[We] expect them [supermarkets] all to ensure that their practices are not misleading and that shoppers are better informed and able to choose the products that most suit their needs.”
The Chartered Institute of Trading Standards is currently working on a revision to the Pricing Practices Guide and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to consultant and legislate on CMA’s recommendations on unit pricing.