Thought you were bagging a bargain by shopping at ASDA? You were wrong…
Asda have been told to "clean up their act" as watchdogs expose them as the worst of all major supermarkets for misleading customers over price promos.
Credit: Grassrootsgroundswell – Flickr.com
The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) have been investigating the way that supermarkets price their products and how they present special offers to customers.
Following the investigation, Asda have been singled out as the worst culprit for confusing customers into thinking they're getting a better deal than they actually are.
Following a super-complaint filed by Which? last year, the CMA have been looking further into how supermarkets are misleading customers over price promotions. All major supermarkets have been found guilty of confusing shoppers, but Asda was the one they had most concern about.
This is something we've been shouting about for a while at Save the Student, as there are a whole load of dirty tricks that the supermarkets use to get you to spend more money, not just the ones revealed in this report – get the lowdown here.
How have they been tricking us?
Essentially, the supermarkets have been misleading shoppers by making it seem like they're getting a good deal when technically, they're not.
For example, multi-buy deals where you're not actually getting better value buying in bulk, and it would be cheaper to buy multiple products separately.
Also putting 'was/now' price labels on products where the price has been hiked for a short period of time just so that they can drop the price and stick a reduced label on it.
One example the CMA found was a 2 litre bottle of Pepsi on sale in Asda for £1.98 for 28 days, then the price dropped to £1 for 63 days and a 'Was £1.98/ now £1' label was slapped on it. This is against the rules, as the higher price of £1.98 only lasted for a short time, and in that sense didn't represent the 'real' price of the product.
The report also found that some tomato ketchups were priced per 100ml and others per 100g, making it hard for customers to compare which was of better value.
What happens now?
Asda have promised that they will change the way they promote special offers by August this year. They promise to make the following changes:
- When attaching a 'was/now' label to a product, the 'was' price will have to be running longer than the 'now' price (preventing them from being able to hike prices up just so they can say they've reduced them)
- 'Was/now' labels won't be put on products that have just been in a multi-buy deal, to give shoppers a clearer picture of the original price
- Multi-buy deals now must offer a better deal to customers than they would've gotten if they'd bought the product individually before.
Since the CMA's investigation, Sainsbury's have announced that they're scrapping multi-buy deals completely and both Tesco and Morrison's are now phasing them out.
Will Asda follow their lead, or will they continue with multi-buys but in a way that isn't ripping their customers off?
There are loads of tips for saving money on your shopping in our ultimate supermarket shopping guide, and be sure to check out our Student Deals page, which is full of great limited time offers to be snapped up!
Need to save more moolah? Check out our guide of 55 practical ways to save money! We really do spoil you.