Warnings for retailers ahead of Xmas sales

Warnings for retailers ahead of Xmas sales

Misleading discounts are still on the shelves more than a year after tough new penalties were brought in to curb such behaviour by retailers.

The Commerce Commission is warning retailers to play fair in the lead up to Christmas.

When it comes to Christmas, everybody wants a bargain. It's those bargains that help us decide where to shop.

But when is a bargain not a bargain?

"A bargain is not a bargain if the product that you're buying, at the price you're buying it at, is not worth it to you," says Anna Rawlings of the Commerce Commission.

The Commerce Commission has today thrown doubt on the authenticity of discounting.

They're warning consumers that some retailers are inflating the original price of an item, to make the discount look bigger, and selling a product at a discount for a long period – but still claiming it as a discount.

The Retailers Association says its members are doing the best they can in an increasingly competitive market.

"The internet has meant that products anywhere in the world are available for consumers, and it means that New Zealand retailers need to be more competitive and stay ahead of the game," says Greg Harford of the Retailers Association.

It's a game that could land a retailer with a $600,000 fine under the Fair Trading Act.

Countdown breached the Fair Trading Act in 2012 after advertising at least 20 to 25 percent off all of its beer, when in fact it had been at least eight months since the standard shelf price on those products had been charged.

The Commerce Commission says that company was issued with a warning, but says consumers should be playing their part too.

They advise consumers to research the product online first and check the till receipt to make sure any discount has been applied.

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