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Test-Achats points to 'false promotions' in Belgian supermarkets
Consumer advocacy agency Test-Achats has accused several Belgian supermarket chains of holding "false promotions" in a new report.
Supermarkets hold sales in order to attract customers, but the study found that in some cases these were knowingly deceptive, for example: a product advertised as being “under €1” as part of a special promotion, when in reality the product is always sold for less than €1.
Delhaize was pointed out as offering holders of a SuperPlus card a discount on products with a high Nutriscore without specifying that one month later, the terms would change to require them to first spend a minimum of €99.
When it comes to Carrefour, the store advertised that it had “up to 1,000 products for less than €1” but in reality, 104 of the products were unavailable and 36 had always been at that price point.
“Carrefour has not made any products cheaper,” Test-Achats wrote in its report. “On the contrary, we found that 11 products have even seen their prices increase.”
Carrefour also promised to freeze the prices of 100 products for 100 days, but only 58 of them were able to be found by Test-Achats and 28 were unavailable online.
Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn ran an advertisement saying “more than 1,000 products, the second one free,” but this was determined to be misleading.
There were only 580 products available online and just 264 of them actually included a second one free with the purchase of the first. For the other products, the discounts offered were smaller.
“It is crucial, in these times of high inflation, that consumers are properly informed about the promotions on offer,” said Julie Frère, spokeswoman for Test-Achats.
“Consumers are legitimately looking for ways to reduce their spending, but false promotions and misleading information make it difficult for them to do so. We call on all supermarket chains to be honest and transparent about their promotions and not to mislead the consumer.”
Test-Achats said it intends to inform the Economic Inspectorate about the false promotions their study uncovered.