Supermarket Shenanigans: Misleading Advertising
May 9, 2023
The Consumer Council of Fiji is calling out ‘notorious’ and ‘dodgy’ supermarkets after hundreds of misleading prices were discovered on store shelves and in advertisements. A total of 574 cases of misleading prices and advertisements were discovered from August 2022 to March 2023.
Continuous surveillance and monitoring by the Council coupled with consumer complaints has revealed that supermarkets are failing to satiate the requirements of fair and ethical pricing in line with the Fijian Competition and Consumer (FCCC) Act 2010. Issues emanating includes ‘specials’ where consumers do not save anything, advertised ‘specials’ on store shelves/advertisements not being reflected at point of sale and combo deals where consumers would have been better off buying items in the deal individually.
“Certain traders are employing a whole host of sneaky tricks to get their hands-on consumer’s hard-earned cash. Special signs have become the new norm in store aisles. When walking around in shops, it’s likely you will be inundated with lots of brightly coloured signs for ‘top deals’, ‘lowest prices ever’, ‘bonanza’ or other not-to-be-missed deals. But beneath the bright colours and tempting signs, are the special and discount offers we see genuine? And do they give us value for money? These retailers must stop tricking shoppers with deceptive deals and spurious special offers.” said Consumer Council of Fiji Chief Executive Officer Ms. Shandil.
During investigations, the most common excuse provided by supermarkets involved in misleading prices and advertisements was that it was an IT ‘glitches’ or ‘human error’ and that it was not intentional.
“Supermarkets need to understand that consumers are currently facing cost of living pressures and most consumers are being price conscious; actively looking for specials and discounts. Hence, this type of behaviour is simply equivalent to robbing people in broad daylight. This being said, supermarkets can no longer hide behind excuses such as IT ‘glitch’ and human error. They have had enough time to get their act straight and we will be stringently monitoring this,” added Ms Shandil.
The Council is reminding supermarkets and other businesses that engaging in misleading practices is illegal under Section 77-78 of the FCCC Act 2010 which prevents traders from distorting the market through misleading actions, misleading omissions, aggressive practices and unfair behaviour.
“Supermarkets engaging in misleading advertisements and prices will be referred for enforcement actions and the Council will continuously push for stringent penalties against supermarkets found engaging in these unethical practices,” said Ms Shandil.
For further information or to lodge a complaint, please contact the CCoF toll free line 155. Complaints can also be emailed to email@example.com or lodged via the Consumer Council of Fiji Mobile App.