Here’s how discounters are misleading prices – SWR3

Prices in Germany continue to rise sharply. However, discounters promise to stay cheap. But it only works with tricks we pay extra for. Here’s how you protect yourself!

Jana Fischer of the Hamburg Consumer Advisory Center knows the pricing tricks used by retail chains. Because she receives complaints from consumer advocates and they have increased significantly in recent weeks. Own brands of discounters and supermarkets are often affected.

Hidden Price Increase: Lidl cuts toilet paper

In the SWR3 interview, Fischer gives a very bizarre example to Lidl: it is toilet paper: “The number of sheets has not been reduced, but the length of the sheets, so as to have a total of three meters less toilet paper per roll, while the price has remained the same“. That something like this annoys consumers is obviously clear.

In recent weeks, we have received many new complaints for hidden #pricing increases. However, well-known #noname items are no longer concerned primarily as before, but much more often cheaper #noname products from retailers ūüõí

Misleading packaging even at other discount stores

But other discounters are also cheating. And here, too, consumer advocates know of examples of hidden price increases: Aldi, for example, offers lamb steaks. The packaging in question is now expected to contain only 300 grams instead of 400 grams, according to consumer advocates. The price, on the other hand, remained the same at 6.99 euros. The increase in prices is therefore around 33 per cent. “Particularly bold: the package remains the same size, even though it contains significantly less meat – a real air pack and not very sustainable“writes the consumer advisory center on its website.

In the video, our colleagues at Marktcheck report even more examples of hidden price hikes and whether consumers catch them at all.

Another example: a Penny pizza should weigh only 410 instead of 460 grams. At the same time, Penny is said to have raised the price from 2.49 to 2.99 euros. The situation was similar with a Netto lentil and bulgur salad.

Why do discounters use price tricks?

Prices are currently on the rise due to high inflation and the war in Ukraine, which is driving up energy and commodity prices. This is a problem for product manufacturers, retail chains and, of course, consumers alike. The latter are therefore looking closely at money, especially those with low incomes. But discounters want one thing above all: not to alienate customers.

Cashier in the supermarket (Photo: dpa Bildfunk, picture alliance / dpa / dpa-Zentralbild | Jens Kalaene)

Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, grocers are paying more and more for raw materials and energy. The result: Germany is facing the next round of price hikes.

If you actually increase the price visibly, obviously many more people will notice this directly. And that could lead people to turn to other brands or other retailers who may have a cheaper offer.

Fisher explains: “If the price increase is hidden, i.e. so that the price you pay remains the same but the quantity you pay decreases, then there are more people who will continue to buy the product. And of course the trade or the manufacturer will benefit. ”

A cashier pulls the goods onto the scanner (Photo: dpa Bildfunk, picture alliance / dpa / dpa-Zentralbild | Jens Kalaene)


Expert tip: This is how you discover hidden price increases


How can I discover hidden price increases?

Fischer now advises consumers to pay special attention to the base price. This is not the price to pay for a product at the checkout, but the price per kilo, which must always be indicated on the price tag. “Why does the price show you exactly how many grams or how many kilos I get for my money?This makes the products comparable to each other, regardless of the amount of filling or the size of the package, says the expert.

The hamster sits in the cart and eats some noodles (Photo: Adobe Stock / Olesya)

Sunflower oil, noodles, toilet paper – some people stock up on emergency supplies for fear of war in Ukraine. Our calculator shows how many hamsters you really need.

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