Customers are being misled by supermarket discounts, multi-buy offers and other sales tactics, according to the consumer watchdog Which?.
In a new report, Which? claims shoppers are frequently being duped into believing that they are getting a better deal than they actually are.
The organisation analysed more than 700,000 prices and found that in some cases ‘discounts’ ran for much longer than the original price.
It also found that some supermarkets inflate the old price in order to make the new, lower price appear a better deal than it actually is.
Which? used data gleaned from the independent grocery shopping website MySupermarket.co.uk from 31 January 2011 to 1 February 2012.
‘At a time when household budgets are squeezed and food bills are going up, many people are on the lookout for a bargain,’ said Which? executive director Richard Lloyd.
‘It is unacceptable that shoppers are confused into thinking they are getting a good deal when that might not be the case.’
However, both Tesco and Asda said the pricing anomalies were errors.
‘We change millions of price labels in store and online each week and we sometimes make mistakes, for which we apologise,’ said Tesco. ‘We make every effort to ensure we act in accordance with government guidelines on price promotions.’
Asda said: ‘We are only human, and occasionally we make mistakes. By and large our systems and procedures ensure those instances are kept to an absolute minimum, but when we do get it wrong, we put our hands up to say sorry, and put things right as quickly as possible’.
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