Which? has reported Tesco to the CMA as it criticized the grocery giant’s lack of unit pricing across its food and drink promotions.
The consumer group said the UK’s largest retailer had not clearly explained the unit price of deals for its Clubcard holders – such as the price per 100g or 100ml – so that shoppers could easily compare value for money between different sized packages, bottles, brands and retailers.
It said the lack of unit pricing could be a “misleading practice” under consumer protection regulations because it could make it difficult for shoppers to determine the cheapest product.
In November, Tesco’s Clubcard programme was crowned the best supermarket reward scheme. Six months later, Sainsbury’s launched its new loyalty initiative – Nectar Prices – to compete with the leading retailer.
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Sue Davies, the head of food policy at Which?, said: “Tesco’s unclear Clubcard pricing is at best confusing for shoppers struggling with soaring food inflation and at worst could be breaking the law.
“This is simply not good enough from the UK’s biggest supermarket. Tesco should think of its customers and act now to introduce clear unit pricing on all offers, including Clubcard promotions, so shoppers can easily find the best value items.
“We expect the regulator to look at unit pricing on the growing number of supermarket member price schemes as part of its review. At this time of crisis, supermarkets cannot cut corners. They have a duty to ensure pricing is clear so that customers can get the best value.”
Tesco said in response that its price labelling has been “formally endorsed” by Trading Standards, after it asked to organisation to review its Clubcard Prices promotions. It added that it is “disappointed” by the “ill-founded claims” from the watchdog.
“Given that we are complying with all the current rules, we are disappointed that Which? has chosen to make these ill-founded claims against our Clubcard Prices scheme, which helps millions of households get great value week-in, week-out, and could save shoppers up to £351 per year,” a spokesman for Tesco said.
A CMA spokeswoman commented: “Our current review of unit pricing is considering the issue of how supermarkets provide unit price information for products on promotions, including loyalty promotions. We will set out our findings in July”.