Consumer protection this Easter

May 9, 2019

With just a week left until Easter Celebrations many consumers will be looking to take advantage of deals being offered by traders. The extended Easter holidays offer a chance for families to get together and this year will be no different. 

The allure of Easter advertising can be so great, enough to draw a consumer to purchase a product or service. Many religious holidays have become commercialised and Easter is no exception. Easter advertising is in fact one of the most common marketing tools for businesses to take advantage of this commercialisation as it serves to attract and influence consumers to purchase advertised products and services. 

From sales on food and drinks to hire purchase deals offered as part of Easter Sales, there is no shortage of goods that will be on sale this week. The Council has noticed in the past that traders may attempt to get rid of old stock or poor quality items under the guise of a sale. So how can consumers ensure they are not duped into spending money this Easter? Below are a number of tips that savvy consumers can use. 

Tips to save money this Easter 

Make a list and stick to it

Having a shopping list with only the essentials is the best way to save money. List the products that you would like to purchase and avoid impulse buying. Making a list will ensure that consumers are not swayed by advertising and that they stay within budget. 

Compare prices for goods

Individual traders often sell similar goods at different prices and sometimes the quality of these goods may differ. Comparative shopping i.e visiting different traders to check out their deals will help to ensure that consumers get the best value for money. Some traders may retail a product at a lower price however the product may be close to expiry or have damaged packaging. Other traders may sell the same product at the same or slightly higher price but is properly packaged and well within expiry dates. 

If distances between supermarkets are too far, a common tactic is to check advertisements in the newspaper and even online as most supermarkets now advertise their specials on their websites and social media. 

Stay suspicious

Consumers should always have a healthy dose of skepticism when shopping. If the deals being advertised look too good to be true, it’s because they often are. 

During Easter sales, advertisements are designed to lure consumers into making purchases, however it is always best to double and even triple check items that are on sale to ensure that there are no defects. Ask as many questions as possible regarding the product before purchasing. 

Read the fine print.

It is common practice for advertisements to include some information in fine print. This information must not contradict the overall message of the advertisement. For example, if an advertisement states that a product is ‘free’ but the fine print indicates some payments must be made, the advertisement is likely to be misleading. 

Check your receipts

Receipts will show what consumers have to pay for individual items. This is a sure way to ensure that the prices on shelves are accurate. The Council has received complaints in the past regarding the practice of having one price on the shelf but a different price at the checkout counter. These consumers were able to discover this either while paying for the good or after checking their receipts. 

Choose to avoid commercialisation

The commercialisation of major holidays can make consumers feel that they must purchase certain goods to be able to celebrate the day fully. This is driven by clever advertising campaigns of what traders deem to be goods that are essential to the holiday. For Easter, this may be Chocolate Easter Eggs and Easter Egg Hunts or even Hot Cross Buns. However, consumers should consider that these are not essential to the Easter. Extended public holidays can be a time to catch up with family and loved ones and these are experiences that money cannot buy. 

Consumers who need further advice or assistance are advised should call the National Consumer Helpline on toll-free number 155.