Misleading advertising at supermarkets, this is robbing people in broad daylight – Consumer Council CEO

Misleading advertising at supermarkets, this is robbing people in broad daylight – Consumer Council CEO

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 09/05/2023
[Photo: File]

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.

The council says a total of 574 cases of misleading prices and advertisements were discovered from August 2022 to March 2023.

During investigations, the most common excuse provided by supermarkets involved in misleading prices and advertisements was that it was an IT ‘glitch’ or ‘human error’ and that it was not intentional.

Council CEO, Seema Shandil says supermarkets need to understand that consumers are currently facing cost of living pressure and most consumers are being price conscious; actively looking for specials and discounts.

She says this type of behaviour of misleading advertising is simply equivalent to robbing people in broad daylight.

Shandil says this being said, supermarkets can no longer hide behind excuses such as IT ‘glitch’ and human error.

She says they have had enough time to get their act straight and the council will be stringently monitoring this.

The council is also reminding supermarkets and other businesses that engaging in misleading practices is illegal under Section 77-78 of the Fijian Competition and Consumer (FCCC) Act 2010 which prevents traders from distorting the market through misleading actions, misleading omissions, aggressive practices and unfair behaviour.

Shandil says 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.

It has been revealed that continuous surveillance and monitoring by the council coupled with consumer complaints has revealed that supermarkets are failing to meet the requirements of fair and ethical pricing in line with the FCCC Act.

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.

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