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How Real Is That Bargain?

The Commerce Commission urges retailers and consumers to think hard about the bargains being offered as ‘Black Friday’ and Christmas draw near.

Black Friday has now overtaken Boxing Day in terms of retail spending, according to data from electronic payments company Paymark.

“Last year Kiwis spent more than $650 million* over three days around Black Friday and we know that there is a lot of marketing about bargains, sales and discounts on Black Friday and in the lead up to Christmas. We want consumers to get the bargains they are promised. We’re reminding retailers to make sure that advertised savings are genuine savings and we’re reminding consumers to do their research, shop around, and check to make sure that they get the deal they think they are getting,” said Commerce Commission Chair Anna Rawlings.

The Commission has provided resources for consumers and businesses, including a video about pricing and a price promotion tip sheet for retailers, and a Christmas sales advice video for consumers.

“For example, if a business claims a price is 50% off then their customers should save 50% off the usual selling price. Businesses should not bump up prices ahead of a sale in order to claim a bigger discount at sale time. Fine print should not be used to hide important information or change the meaning of a headline offer. As our recent prosecution of PAK’nSAVE Mangere shows, businesses must also ensure the price displayed and advertised is the price charged at the checkout,” said Ms Rawlings.

“Consumers should do some price comparison research. Get an idea of the price you could usually expect to pay for an item and then satisfy yourself that the saving you are offered is a real saving. Ultimately, ask yourself whether the price you are asked to pay looks like good value to you, regardless of whether it is discounted or on sale,” she said.

*Core retail spending, excluding food and hospitality.

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