The inquiry was launched following a super complaint by Which? It is only the sixth time Which? has used its power to make a super-complaint since it was given the authority to in 2002 showing the severity of the situation.
The consumer watchdog said that supermarkets had been conning customers out of hundreds of millions of pounds through their misleading and confusing pricing. Nisha Arora the CMA's (Competition and Markets Authority) senior director said, “We welcomed the super-complaint, which presented us with information that demanded closer inspection. We have gathered and examined a great deal of further evidence over the past three months and are now announcing what further action we are taking and recommending others to take.
Supermarkets have approximately 40% of grocery spending on promotions, which critics say is intended to mislead customers into buying products on the knowledge that it is cheaper, whereas in reality that is not the case.
Richard Lloyd the executive director of Which said, “The CMA’s report confirms what our research over many years has repeatedly highlighted: there are hundreds of misleading offers on the shelves every day that do not comply with the rules. This puts supermarkets on notice to clean up their pricing practices or face legal action.”
Following the inquiry supermarkets are under pressure to clean up their act and implement changes with regards to their promotions.
The CMA has put forward recommendations for the supermarkets to ensure clarity when determining pricing and promotions.