Tesco referred to competition watchdog over ‘misleading’ food prices

Tesco has been reported to Britain’s competition regulator over claims it could be “breaking the law” over “unclear Clubcard pricing”.

The UK’s largest supermarket has been accused of not including clear prices on the “vast majority” of deals being offered under its Clubcard scheme. 

Consumer rights group Which? said it had reported Tesco to the Competition & Markets Authority over the way it priced products which were on offer. 

It said a bottle of Heinz ketchup, for example, was priced at £3.90, or 55.7p per 100g for standard customers, but Tesco did not include the same pricing labels for its Clubcard deal, meaning shoppers might not be getting the best deal. Which? said a larger bottle of Heinz ketchup, at 910g, was actually the cheapest option per 100g. 

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.”

Tesco responded to the criticism by saying: “Providing great value and clear pricing is really important to us. We always take care to ensure we are compliant which is why we asked Trading Standards to review our approach on Clubcard Prices.

“They formally endorsed our labelling, confirming it meets the current legal requirements and guidelines.

“We are supportive of calls for greater clarity on the regulations in this area, in the interests of both businesses and consumers, and are actively looking at how we can make the way we display pricing even clearer for our customers.

“However, 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.”

Supermarkets are under pressure over pricing, after the Sunday Telegraph revealed last month that the Government was considering introducing a cap on essential foods to try curb inflation. 

Grocery chiefs have blasted the plans as an “idiotic idea” and argued that they are “very efficient” at keeping prices lower.

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