North Ayrshire & Arran MP Katy Clark has called on the UK Government to introduce measures that would allow better regulation of so-called ‘special offers’ promoted by supermarkets.
Ms Clark tabled questions on the subject in the House of Commons following publication of a revealing report by consumer charity Which? The document - Make Special Offers Special - identified several examples of ‘special offers’ that had misled customers and which, in some cases, actually ended up costing shoppers more money. Particular focus was given to ‘special offers’ where multi-buy promotions had been used by supermarkets to raise prices.
Katy Clark said, “At a time when many families are struggling with the cost of living, special offers can provide real relief to those working on tight budgets. It is therefore essential that these offers actually save customers money and don’t mislead people into spending more than they had intended.”
The Labour MP flagged-up one particular example, “It can’t be fair that Asda increased its price of Uncle Ben’s Express Basmati Rice from £1.00 to £1.58 as it went on a ‘2 for £3.00’ offer, and then return it to £1.00 when the offer ended. Customers purchasing the rice will have been spending more during the offer period regardless of whether took advantage of the multi-buy offer.
“The UK Government has a Pricing Practices Guide aimed at preventing misleading pricing from taking place, but it is clear from research by Which? that this is failing. Stronger action and tougher sanctions are now required.”