Trading Standards make sure the price is right in Derby

Published: 6 June 2024

Local findings reinforced a wider regional operation led by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Image: The Grocer

In a crackdown on bad pricing, Derby City Council’s Trading Standards team have carried out a number of inspections at grocery stores across the city.

As part of its Cost of Living retail project, the team examined over 5,000 products across 47 premises to make sure the right price was being shown, focusing on household essentials like staple foods, toiletries and cleaning products. Officers found 218 non-compliant prices, eight misleading offers and 30 incorrect pricings.

While many of the price discrepancies were small, if a major retailer sold items in large quantities then the detriment to the consumer would add up.

A spokesperson for Derby City Council said:

Our duty to protect consumers in Derby also stretches to their wallets. At a time where prices are high, it’s important that people are getting a fair deal on essential goods and are not being overcharged for them.

These recent inspections may have only identified a few discrepancies at some stores but these can add up for consumers, especially during a cost of living crisis. We will continue to monitor pricing practices around the city and take action where necessary.

These local findings reinforced a wider regional operation - Operation Londonite - led by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

The CMA review indicates that some independent and smaller grocery retailers are failing to display clear and accurate prices.

The review looked at the price marking practices of 139 grocery stores in England and Wales, to assess whether they were clear, accurate and matched the price people were charged at the till.

The CMA conducted on-site inspections and looked at a sample of products – such as fresh fruit and vegetables and products on promotion. During inspections at some stores, the CMA found examples where the retailer was displaying inaccurate prices or failed to display prices at all for certain products. Failing to provide clear and accurate pricing information for products on sale is a breach of consumer law.

Overall, the majority of issues were found at independent food stores and symbol (or franchise) convenience stores. The most common types of issues seen were missing prices, conflicting prices (instances where prices indicated on products conflicted with those shown on shelf edge labels) and prices not being displayed sufficiently close to products.

There were also issues with prices not being clearly legible, the selling price being obscured, and multi-buy promotion labels that didn’t specify the price of the items individually.

The percentage of pricing errors found at each type of store were:

  • Supermarkets: 4.2%
  • Symbol convenience stores: 14.4%
  • Variety stores: 5.6%
  • Independent food stores: 7.8%

Overall, 60% of the errors resulted in a higher price being charged at the till. Further breakdowns by store type can be found in the report.

As a result of these findings the CMA, in conjunction with Trading Standards, has published compliance materials aimed at helping grocery retailers understand what they need to do to comply with the law.

George Lusty, Interim Executive Director for Consumer Protection and Markets at the CMA, said:

We know how frustrating it can be when you get to the till only to find the price doesn’t match what was advertised. While lots of grocery retailers – particularly supermarkets – are complying with pricing rules, this needs to consistently be the case across all types of stores.

It’s important that shoppers can make well-informed choices based on accurate information, especially at a time when lots of people are looking to save money. That’s why we are reminding businesses of the importance of complying with consumer law.

Share this article…
FB   LI   TW   WA   EM