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Buyers misled by constant 'sales': lobby

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/05/2017

Kiwi retail outlets are misleading consumers by holding "constant sales and exaggerated discounts", a consumer lobby group says.

People concerned with the price of products were the most common group writing in to Consumer NZ in 2016, and now the lobby has called for a regular price monitoring system to protect consumers.

"Retailers use 'special offers' to lure customers with the promise of a bargain," Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin says.

"These offers make it look like you're getting a discount but products can be on special so often the savings aren't really genuine."

As an example, a Consumer NZ study of prices in supermarkets in 2016 found more than half were regularly advertised as a special offer, Ms Chetwin says.

In 2015, the consumer lobby targeted homeware stores Farmers and Briscoes, tracking their prices for three months and finding some items were on "special" almost every week.

"At Farmers, an $800 espresso machine was on "special" for 12 of the 13 weeks prices were tracked. For most of the period, it was priced at $560," Consumer NZ says.

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