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By Roy Cokayne

Moneyweb: Freelance journalist


Consumers misled by Pick n Pay combo ‘specials’

Retailer says ‘administrative error’ resulted in items in combo multipack deals costing more per unit than products purchased individually.


Pick n Pay Hypermarket in Faerie Glen in Pretoria – and other hypermarkets in the same region – are misleading their customers, particularly those with a sweet tooth, about “savings” they will make by buying combo multipacks of certain biscuits and chocolates.

The advertised price per unit of a number of different chocolate bars and biscuits in combo multipacks, which are bound together with broad white sticky tape boldly bearing the word “SAVE” and the “Pick n Pay Hypermarket” brand name, were more expensive than a single unit of the same product.

This was the case on Saturday 22 July, and it was still the case on Sunday 30 July (with the exception of one chocolate bar combo multipack) – despite these price anomalies being brought to the attention of Pick n Pay through an inquiry by Moneyweb on 26 July.

Pick n Pay: Price anomalies ‘an administrative error’

Pick n Pay has admitted there were price anomalies with these products.

The supermarket giant said via its communications consultants on Friday that these price anomalies were “an administrative error, which unfortunately does happen but very occasionally as it is a manual process to input the bulk special prices”.

“It is certainly not to trick the customer or anything of that sort,” it said.

 “These products were reduced in the region (some of the specials ended on 23 July, while others are on special until 23 August).

“The [Pick n Pay] buyer is meant to take the special price and work out the combo/bulk price, but in this instance, they used the non-special price in error.

“We really try hard to minimise such errors and checks are in place to avoid this as much as possible.

“But, should an error slip through, we immediately correct it in-store and in our systems the moment it is brought to our attention.

“The buying team has confirmed your email was dealt [with] by Thursday morning so many thanks for the eagle eye!” it said.

ALSO READ: Household food basket prices increase again

Oops again?

The Pick n Pay response does not explain why these price anomalies or discrepancies were still evident for virtually all the products previously highlighted in the Moneyweb query at the Faerie Glen store on Saturday.

A price adjustment was only made to one of the combo multipack specials.

These price anomalies mean unsuspecting customers who fail to calculate the individual price of the items offered in the multipack ‘specials’ and compare it with the shelf price of a single item may end up paying more than they should.

The way these items are being marketed is misleading and probably unethical, particularly as Pick n Pay’s stated values include: “We live by honesty and integrity.”

ALSO READ: Which store has the cheapest (and most expensive) prices for basic food items?

Pick n Pay price anomalies leave bitter taste

There are a number of examples of the pricing anomalies that will have seen some consumers, possibly many, being “sweet-talked” into paying more instead of less.

Bakers Tennis Biscuits: Three packets taped together priced at R81.49, which works out at R27.16 per packet, while individual packets were priced at R24.99 each.

Bakers Eet-Sum-More Shortbread Biscuits: Three packets taped together priced at R98.99, which works out to R32.99 per packet, while the shelf price of individual packets was R30.99 each.

Topper Cream Biscuits: Four packets taped together priced at R54.49, which works out at R13.62 each, while individual packets were priced at R12.49 each.

Cadbury Lunch Bar: Five bars taped together priced at R67.99, which works out at R13.59 per bar. Individual bars were priced at R13.49 each on 22 July and at R13.99 each on 30 July.

Nestlé KitKat 41.5g chocolate: Five slabs taped together priced at R58.49, which works out at R11.69 per slab. The normal price of individual slabs of the same item were listed as R10.99 each while three slabs could be bought on promotion for R31.98, which works out at R10.66 per slab.

This article originally appeared on Moneyweb and was republished with permission.
Read the original article here.

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