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It seems to happen to me on a regular basis.
Pak’n Save Māngere has been fined $78,000 after it pleaded guilty to six charges of making false and/or misleading representations about price, under the Fair Trading Act. Between June and October in 2018, the supermarket was found charging a higher price at the checkout for one or more items than the promotional price it had advertised or displayed on the shelves.
Among the overpriced items were mushrooms priced at $4.99 but charged $2 more at the checkout on two occasions, avocados advertised at three for $5 but charged at $1.99 each on one occasion and sliced salmon going for $8.99 on the shelf but $10.79 at the checkout, on four occasions.
The judge who presided over the Commerce Commission case said the over pricing was “repeatedly careless”.
I can vouch the “repeated carelessness” isn’t restricted to Pak’n Save Mangere alone.
I am regularly sent to the help desk after supermarket shopping to get the refund between what we have been charged at the till and what the advertised price on the shelf was.
I used to tell the better half “don’t worry about it”, it’s only a “couple of dollars.” But that incited a fairly cool drive home.
But after week after week of being overcharged I decided to tread where few male shoppers dare – going to the help desk to contest the priced item. The better half was right.
Generally, the assistants are helpful and apologetic and put it down to the tills not being set properly to match the day’s specials, or a product being put on the incorrectly priced shelf.
The charges against Pak’n Save were laid after officials turned up and carried out “mystery shops” to check advertising prices against those charged at checkout.
The price differences were raised by those officials – staff from the Commerce Commission – to customer service staff at the store.
However, when staff returned to the supermarket the next day and bought the same items, they found customers were still being charged more at the till than what was being displayed on shelves.
Commerce Commission chairwoman Anna Rawlings says supermarkets need to ensure their systems are sufficiently robust to make sure customers are being charged the right prices and were not misled.
“Consumers should be able to trust that the price displayed on the shelf is the price they will be charged,” she said.
My advice: Go over the receipt before you get in the car. And don’t think twice about going back for a refund. Good for your pocket and the drive home will be much more friendlier.