Those toilet roll 'offers' aren't bog-standard

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 October, 2013, 5:04am

Toilet paper labelled a "special offer" is not always a bargain buy, the Consumer Council says, pointing to brands that take advantage of grey areas in the law.

The watchdog made the discovery by comparing the weights of 10-roll and "promotional" 12-roll packs of toilet paper.

Shops commonly price a 12-roll pack at the level of a 10-roll pack, under the "plus two free" sales practice. But some brands are not providing 20 per cent more paper in their 12-roll packs, the council found. "Each roll in a 12-roll pack contained less paper than those in a 10-roll pack," Professor Michael Hui King-man, chairman of the council's publicity and community relations committee, said yesterday.

The council measured the net weights of three brands after removing the packaging and cardboard inners. The samples in the study were three-ply Virjoy rolls, three-ply Tempo rolls and two-ply Best Buy rolls sold by supermarket chain ParknShop. The weight difference between the 10- and 12-packs was 2.6 per cent, 17.5 per cent and 15.5 per cent, respectively. Hui said the brands' use of the term "plus two free" did not necessarily mean a 20 per cent rise in net weight, so they were not in breach of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance.

The council also claimed a sample of the BBB brand of toilet paper, sold in pharmacies but not supermarkets, contained traces of the haemolytic streptococci group of bacteria .

The product distributor said the council had "made a mistake" and demanded an apology.

Tang Lin-wai, owner of Luen Cheong Hong Agency, said the council and customs officers took the sample at a North Point pharmacy. The bacteria was found because the pharmacy had not stored its goods properly.

"Customs officers said they had found holes in the packaging of toilet rolls taken from that pharmacy," Tang said.