70pc feel cheated by supermarket discounts

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 May, 2009, 12:00am

Close to 70 per cent of consumers feel cheated by supermarket chains, a survey has shown in the wake of revelations that the big stores raise prices just before offering 'discounts'.

The Democratic Party telephone poll of 522 people also found fewer than 12 per cent believed the supermarket chains would stop the practice without legislation.

The poll was conducted between April 17 - two days after the Consumer Council disclosed the misleading practice - and April 21. Three-quarters of respondents agreed supermarkets' publicity on discount offers was misleading, while 68 per cent felt they were cheated into buying 'discounted' products that were more expensive than their regular price.

The survey also found that 63.8 per cent of respondents were attracted to, or sometimes attracted to, shopping in the supermarkets as a result of such advertising. Fewer than one in five felt merchandise in supermarket chains was cheaper than other shops during discount days.

Slightly fewer than half the respondents agreed the Consumer Council should monitor supermarket prices; close to one-third agreed the government should enact a law to control supermarkets' malpractice. Only 11.7 per cent believed the chains could exercise self-discipline.

Democratic Party lawmaker Fred Li Wah-ming said that the government should enact laws to prevent retailers from using dishonest methods to set prices and putting up misleading advertisements.