If a retailer is not showing unit pricing SI 639 2002 who do you report it to?

ajapale

Moderator
Messages
7,720
Under consumer protection leglislation retrailers are obliged to display unit prices in most cases. The following is from the citizens advice webpage:

Unit pricing

Unit pricing is a useful tool for comparing prices.

It is most useful when comparing food and grocery prices when products come in different size packages. The price for a product tells you how much you pay for an item. The unit price, however, tells you the price of a kg, litre, metre, square metre or cubic metre.

Unit pricing helps you compare costs of different brands and various sizes without doing complicated calculations.

The law, (SI 639 of 2002) sets down that unit prices must be displayed on or close to the item.

There are exceptions for traders who do not have equipment for printing shelf-edge labels or for point-of-sale scanning. The Regulations only apply to products being sold to the consumer.

By using unit pricing, you can easily compare the cost of any brand and any package size. Remember to compare only similar items. Unit pricing will not help you compare nutritional value or other factors you wish to consider, such as convenience and personal tastes.
I have come accross some daft application of the regulations recently.

1)Sam McCauley (chemists chain) have a pack of three NUK (250ml) babies bottles and instead of displaying the price per bottle they display the price per litre!

2)Boots the Chemist sell huggies nappies in packs of 64 and instead of displaying the price per nappy they display the price per kilo!

Has anyone else come up with similar examples?
 

BillK

Registered User
Messages
1,140
Re: Unit Pricing: Some daft examples!

Mrs K bought some sausages in Tesco the other day which were only priced per sausage - she had to specify how many she wanted rather than a particular weight.
I suppose this could have advantages, but I had never heard of that method of pricing before.
 
R

rmelly

Guest
Re: Unit Pricing: Some daft examples!

I would have said each of these is fine as long as all similar products follow the same approach to allow valid comparison. The idea is you don't need to make additional calculations where the quantities/sizes differ.

Take the following example for cans of soup:

3 pack of Soup X, 500 ml x 3, costs EUR 2.25
2 pack of Soup Y, 750 ml x 2, costs EUR 2.00

Which is better value? What good is a price per can here if the units are not of comparable size?

Whereas a price per liter would be useful here.
 

ajapale

Moderator
Messages
7,720
Re: Unit Pricing: Some daft examples!

If a retailer is not showing unit pricing who do you report the matter to?

In the case of nappies (yes nappies again!) the standard display shows the unit price but the special offer display just shows the price per box.

Huggies (and Pampers) seem to have really odd numbers of nappies in a box and also very odd price points. If you have a calculator then the prices can vary from about 18c to 30c. This goes for Dunnes, Tesco, SQ and Supervalue.

Very often the large boxes represent worse value thant the small packs.
 

sam h

Registered User
Messages
1,249
Re: Unit Pricing

This is a real bug bear for me also. I do most of my shopping in Tesco & I notice toilet paper could be priced as per roll or per kg or per sheet.

Eggs (don't think they do a price per egg) - it's cheaper to buy 6 medium eggs than 12.
 

Brendan Burgess

Founder
Messages
45,336
The National Consumer Agency

How to contact us

The quickest way to get an answer to your query is to call our Consumer helpline on Lo-call 1890 432 432

You can also call us on (01) 402 5555 or fax us on (01) 402 5501
Opening hours from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday.

* Note that the rates charged for the use of 1890 (LoCall) numbers may vary among different service providers.

Fill in our
contact us form. When you use this form you will receive an acknowledgement from us and a copy of the email you have sent for your own records. We will respond to you within 3 working days.

Contact us through social media:

Follow us on twitter
Find us on facebook
Get LinkedIn with us

Write to us at:

National Consumer Agency
4 Harcourt Road
Dublin 2

If you have queries about financial regulation, contact the Central Bank.
Queries about the website

If you have a comment or suggestion to make about this website or if you want to report a broken link, please get in touch.

Cost comparisons
If you have a question or comment on our cost comparisons, please get in touch.

Media queries

If you are a journalist, please go to our media zone or call (01) 475 1444 with press queries.
 

ajapale

Moderator
Messages
7,720
Thanks Brendan,

Make a consumer complaint Call our helpline: 1890 432 432 or (01) 402 5555

from their website:
Unit pricing

Some products are covered by "unit pricing" rules. Many products sold by groceries, supermarkets and shops are sold by weight, volume or measure, and unit pricing means you must display not only the product's actual selling price, but its unit price too.
The unit price is the price for a given quantity of the product (e.g. the price for a litre or kilo of the product).
Under the law you have to display both the selling price and the unit price on or near to the item. In practice this would be on the same shelf-edge label, with the selling price in the larger font and the unit price underneath.
For some goods the unit price refers to standard containers. For example the unit price for wine is the final price in euro, including VAT and all other taxes, for 75cl.
Exemptions to unit pricing

There are certain exceptions to the unit pricing rule:

  • Where the selling price is not related to the quantity of that product being offered for sale. Examples would be fruit such as melons or vegetables such as turnips which are often sold by a fixed price rather than by weight
  • Pre-packaged products not greater than 50 grams or 50 millilitres, such as small packets of sweets, crisps and popcorn
  • Where the selling price has been reduced from the usual price on account of its damaged condition or the danger of its deterioration
  • A multi-pack of different products, such as a Christmas hamper
  • Food sold in restaurants, pubs, coffee shops, or other retail outlets where food can be eaten
If your shop doesn't have equipment for printing shelf-edge labels or for point-of-sale scanning, you only have to display the selling price. If you sell from a stall or other mobile sales unit, you are also exempt from having to show unit prices, apart from products you sell in bulk (see below).
Selling in bulk

All products sold in bulk have to be unit priced. Under the rules, products are sold in bulk where they are not pre-packaged, and when they are weighed or measured in the presence of the customer.
For example, vegetables can be sold loose, and can be selected and weighed by the customer or trader. Fresh meat which is not pre-packaged can also be selected by the consumer, and weighed by the butcher.
As it is impossible in these instances to show a selling price, you are not required to give one. But you must still display the unit price.
 
M

mercman

Guest
What is a consumer supposed to do when no prices are displayed at all. Butcher Shops in the west of Ireland have this knack of having no prices on a vast range of their meat products, which is very annoying. Very hard to do price comparisons when two butcher shops have no prices displayed.
 

ajapale

Moderator
Messages
7,720
Are butchers exempt from the unit pricing regulation? Like mercman I often see 10 chicken fillets for €10 with no reference to the weight or average weight.
 

GDUFFY

Registered User
Messages
193
I used to have to price rolls of Sellotape in the unit price and the price per metre.
 

JamesMorgan

Registered User
Messages
4
Are butchers exempt from the unit pricing regulation? Like mercman I often see 10 chicken fillets for €10 with no reference to the weight or average weight.

The very first exemption that you posted gives you the answer:

There are certain exceptions to the unit pricing rule:
Where the selling price is not related to the quantity of that product being offered for sale. Examples would be fruit such as melons or vegetables such as turnips which are often sold by a fixed price rather than by weight


Also the two examples listed abide by the regulations as well. It is clearly defined: The unit price, however, tells you the price of a kg, litre, metre, square metre or cubic metre. A unit is an SI unit, not one bottle in a package of three bottles. It is hardly important provided that you can make a comparison between competing products. If you are told that 10 chicken fillets cost €10, and 5 fillets cost €6, can you not make the comparison?
 

ajapale

Moderator
Messages
7,720
If you are told that 10 chicken fillets cost €10, and 5 fillets cost €6, can you not make the comparison?

You cant compare between shops if you dont have the per kilo price.

Butcher A could have big fillets, butcher B could have smaller ones.
 

sustanon

Registered User
Messages
336
People should try being better at mental arithmetic. All the information is there, they're just too lazy to process it
 

ajapale

Moderator
Messages
7,720
Fortunately the law, (SI 639 of 2002), sets down that unit prices must be displayed on or close to the item. So a proficiency in mental arithmetic (while useful) is not strictly necessary in this case.
 

ajapale

Moderator
Messages
7,720
I have noticed that the pound shop style shop known as Dealz does not do unit pricing. I dont think its fair that these shops can sell milk etc and not showing unit prices while ordinary decent retailers such as Dunnes, Tescos, Supervalue, Lidl and Aldi all have to invest much time and energy to be compliant with the regulations.

Often when you calculate the unit price in Dealz it transpires to be poor value and dearer than the supermarktes!
 

Complainer

Registered User
Messages
4,951
Are the pound shops exempt from the regs, or are they chancing their arms? Have you considered reporting them to NCA?
 

Luternau

Registered User
Messages
904
I have noticed that the pound shop style shop known as Dealz does not do unit pricing. I dont think its fair that these shops can sell milk etc and not showing unit prices while ordinary decent retailers such as Dunnes, Tescos, Supervalue, Lidl and Aldi all have to invest much time and energy to be compliant with the regulations.

Often when you calculate the unit price in Dealz it transpires to be poor value and dearer than the supermarktes!

They have generic information displays along their shelf that indicate the price per kg based on weight. Example prce 1.49, product 100gm = 14.90 per kg, 1.49, product 200gm = 7.45 per kg. I cant recall if they had 150gm as a weight point. If not, its back to the mental arithmetic.
If this is not inline with legislation-then they are non compliant. However, my guess is, that there is a technicality that allows them to do this and remain compliant. It would not be the first time that there was a loophole in legislation/regulation that allowed people avoid the essense of the regulation. Building regs for example-often exempted/avoided/skirted, seldom breached!!!!
 

ajapale

Moderator
Messages
7,720
Here from Bluefinsolutions.com is an interesting blog on the business model behind Poundland/Dealz.
by Luke Griffiths Delivery Director
Bluefin Solutions


The secrets of Poundland 08 Oct 2012 Consumer Business, Consumer Products, Retail & Trade

Secrets of Poundland Dispatches

Poundland.jpg
I recently watched Channel 4's Secrets of Poundland Dispatches programme (available on 4OD at the time of writing). The premise was the Poundland's use of pricing, packaging and in-your-face bargain labelling was persuading us to by certain products that were in fact more expensive per unit that in the local supermarket.
The programme tried to make the point that the most vulnerable sections of society, those on benefits or very low wages were being exploited by these 'deals' as they had little choice but to shop with these retailers. Whatever your thoughts on consumer choice, what was clear was Poundland is not a fledgling underdog but a sophisticated operator operating in a fragmented sector with plenty of profit still to be made.
I found the level of collaboration Poundland must have with its suppliers to be really interesting. Gone are the days where it would stock end of line products or oversupplied goods due for export. These days it has direct and close relationships with manufacturers of the big Consumer Products brands (Coke, Cadbury, Heinz, Nestle etc.) in order to produce pack sizes that can be sold for a pound with the right profit margin. This "re-formatting" is what allows Poundland to turn a profit with a fixed price of £1 even with inflation and rising input costs. Where Tesco is selling a 200g jar of Nutella the Poundland version might be 180g to allow it to sell it for a pound.

'Trick' packaging

The real secret of poundland is this ability to source re-engineered products to maintain margin - so you might get 7 packs of crisps in a family bag, whereas once you got 10. They also use non-standard sizes of popular products. The 800g loaf of bread is what we're all used to. Poundland gets Warburton to make it a special 600g loaf in order to sell it for a pound.
So what's the problem? The programme implied that this, combined with the heavy use of discount labelling e.g. "100% extra free", was misleading customers. It cited the example of eight bars of two-finger Kit-Kats for £1. These were sold with a large yellow banner around the multipack saying "5+3 bars, 60pc Extra Free". Apparently Asda were currently selling the same eight Kit-Kats for £1, too, but without the "60pc Extra Free" flash. It was also careful to say "There is no suggestion that Poundland is trying to mislead customers, and it points out that sizes are clearly printed on its products.", perhaps fearing a call from Poundland's lawyers!
This is the point where I'm tempted to say caveat emptor. But often we just don't bother to do the math, we just sling it in the basket - it's got a bright yellow label on it and it's a quid. How can it not be a bargain!
It's also true that Poundland did have a good number of deals that were genuinely better value than supermarkets. Its own research suggests it was cheaper than the big four supermarkets and Boots on 85 per cent of 246 identical products it tested this year. As with any retail business, your price and promotion mix is key to generating maximum profit for the shelf space you have available. If the lowest priced chocolate bars in the area get people through the door then they may also pick up the higher margin household cleaner you have on a floor display in the centre. Interestingly, unlike the supermarkets, Poundland says it hardly ever runs promotions as loss-leaders.
 
Top