Supermarket discounts a con?

October 25, 2011, 4:45 PM GMT+0

Over half the British public believe supermarket discounts are dishonest, our poll has found. However, while the majority of shoppers appear sceptical about such deals, opinion is split as to whether there should be tougher rules governing discount offers in general.

  • 54% of the British public think that supermarket discount offers are often dishonest
  • 34% disagree, believing that supermarkets are generally honest and above board
  • 43% said that discount offers in supermarkets should be subject to tougher rules
  • While a similar 41% disagree that tougher rules are necessary
  • Interestingly, over two thirds (68%) of those aged 60 and over considered supermarkets dishonest
  • As opposed to just 30% aged between 18 and 24
  • Similarly, 57% of over 60s agreed that there is a need for tougher rules on bargain offers
  • Compared to just 28% of 18-24 year olds

‘Extra-special bargains’?

The issue of food prices is becoming increasingly contentious as costs continue to rise. Consumer group Which? believe many stores appear to be taking advantage of cash-strapped families enticed by ’extra-special bargains’. They recently reported that a number of chains were exploiting loopholes in fair-trading legislation to offer ‘dubious’ offers on items such as fruit and wine ‘that might mislead you into thinking you are getting an extra-special bargain when you are not’.

Which? claims that some stores were discovered to be inflating prices for just a few days before promoting their products as being half-price or better for weeks afterwards. One example involved cherries sold at a leading retailer at one price for 15 days, before being advertised as half-price for eight weeks. Which? Executive Director Richard Lloyd said: ‘Just because something is on offer doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cheap or good value. We want to see clear and transparent offers that don’t cause confusion.’

However, the six chains implicated in this particular report insisted that their deals complied with industry rules. They also said that they had no intention to mislead customers, and as our poll shows, 34% of people are still satisfied that such bargains and discounts are harmless, while 41% say there is no need for more stringent rules concerning supermarket discount offers.

See the survey details and full results here