Hong Kong Consumer Council questions struck-through price practices

A Hong Kong Consumer Council survey alleges supermarket chains’ use of struck-through prices are potentially misleading consumers.

A survey conducted by the council identified that nearly 90 per cent of items were marked with a struck-through price as well as the selling price to create an impression of price reduction. However, the deleted price was not necessarily found to correspond to any original price, standard price or recommended retail price.

“This is not only a potential infringement of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance but is also detrimental to consumers’ right to accurate information for making informed choices.” read a report on the Consumer Council’s website. 

“As the price of a product will have a direct influence on purchase decision, supermarkets have the responsibility to ensure the transparency of prices and that all price reduction claims and the extent of the reduction are truthful and verifiable.”

The Enforcement Guidelines for the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (TDO) state that traders must clearly define strike-through pricing, and that if such pricing refers to an original price, retailers are required to have sold the item at that price for a reasonable period of time. What constitutes a “reasonable period” of time has yet to be defined by the enforcement authority.

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