HS Helsinki | “It’s against the law,” says the authority about the stores’ incorrect shelf prices

In stores, a shelf price lower than the cash price is always against the law, says the Competition and Consumer Agency.

Inflation as a result, product prices rise, and store price tags do not want to keep up. In this way, the shelf prices of the products may have been lower than the updated cash prices.

According to the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, this is against the law.

HS news on Tuesday, November 22, shopping center Kaaren Prisma, where the shelf prices have sometimes differed from the cash register prices.

It is clear from the numerous feedbacks received by HS that it is not just a problem of a single store or chain. According to readers, non-updated shelf prices have appeared for different products in many different stores.

Incorrect prices have appeared in both K and S group stores.

“Legislation is unambiguous, and according to it the shelf edge price must always be up to date”, says the leading expert Mika Hakamäki from the Competition and Consumer Agency.

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Kannelmäki Prisma told HS that the new prices will be rolled into the cash register from the morning, when the shelf prices will also start to be changed by the sellers. However, there are a huge number of products, and pairs of hands do not always keep up with the cash prices.

According to Hakamäki, no explanation justifies false shelf prices.

“If the situation is really that there are no hands, then the price change would have to be handled the other way around,” says Hakamäki.

Stores should therefore update shelf prices to higher prices before the price change takes effect at the checkout.

Hakamäki considers it reprehensible if the store has been aware of the mistake and the situation has still not been resolved.

“If this is repeated and deliberate, then it has all the ingredients for imposing a ban on the company.”

Hakamäki according to the error in the event of a sale, it would be necessary to sell the product to the customer at a lower shelf price, even if the price had already changed at the checkout.

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Sometimes, however, the customer only notices the error in the receipt after the payment transaction.

In some stores, you can’t get a refund from the cashier, but you can only ask for it at the info point.

According to Hakamäki, the practice is very unsatisfactory from the customer’s point of view, because the stores’ info points are not necessarily open 24/7 like the store.

“I would stay to find out the matter at the cashier myself. This is what I would urge the consumer to do as well.”

Grocery store the union’s CEO Kari Luoto says that incorrect shelf prices are an unknown phenomenon to him.

“I haven’t come across this on a larger scale, and I can’t confirm the phenomenon. We haven’t received any feedback,” he says.

“If something like this happens, it’s not in anyone’s interest. The advantage of the companies is that the customer leaves the store satisfied. The companies will certainly do everything they can to prevent this from happening.”

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According to Luoto, it is true that the prices of products vary more sharply now than in the past. Each chain or individual store works in its own way in how they price their products.

Some stores have electronic price tags that are updated at the same time as the cash registers. In others, the notes are changed by hand. In some chains, price tags are printed centrally, and in others, they are printed on a store-by-store basis.

Whether cash register prices are updated before shelf prices is a company-specific matter, according to Luoto. Policies vary widely between different stores.

Despite the variegated practices, Luoto considers mistakes to be regrettable.

“Mistakes are really unfortunate for a commercial operator. Customer loyalty is important in the grocery store.”

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