We've all been there. We're traipsing round the aisles of our local supermarket trying to hunt out a bargain, only to be bewildered by the multitude of special offers and cut-price deals calling to us at every corner. Unfortunately, many of them are misleading and may not offer as much value as we'd hoped, and that's why the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has stepped in.
Following a complaint received earlier this year (which included concerns about misleading special offers, unit pricing, price-matching schemes and changing pack sizes), the CMA conducted a full-on investigation into these confusing promotions.
It found several instances of pricing and promotional practices that have "the potential to confuse or mislead consumers and which could be in breach of consumer law", and although they're not that widespread, "more could be done to reduce the complexity in unit pricing to make it a more useful comparison tool for consumers". As a result, the CMA has announced a series of measures that should improve compliance and simplify regulations for retailers, which will ultimately give greater clarity to shoppers.
For starters, it'll work with businesses to cut out promotional practices that could mislead consumers – including the practice of running 'was/now' promotions where the discount price is promoted for longer than the former higher price – and will look to change unit pricing practices so it's more legible to consumers and can ensure easier comparisons. It's also published guidance for consumers to help them make better use of unit pricing, which could go some way to improving things.
The CMA has said that it will continue to work with retailers to rectify any issues and could enforce fines where breaches have occurred, so hopefully, misleading promotions could soon be a thing of the past. But why run the risk of falling foul to a less-than-great-value promotion? If you want to be sure you're getting a great deal, make the most of vouchers! Be on the lookout for those that give you money off your shopping bill – simple yet effective – and see if you can cut your bills down to size the easy way.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
Moneyfacts.co.uk will, like most other websites, place cookies onto your computer’s
hard drive. This includes tracking cookies.