Supermarket price matching doesn't add up
Which! says customers should take supermarket price matching schemes with ‘a pinch of salt’ (Table salt: 39p from Asda). After analysing Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda - who all offer voucher style price matching - they say that the schemes themselves are so different that it’s almost impossible to tell whether one is cheaper than the other.
The rival comparison schemes, where you get a voucher with money off after you pay for your shopping, don’t really stand up to close scrutiny. Each supermarket claims to be cheaper than the other, but when the receipts are analysed, things don’t add up. Which! found that Asda was the cheapest overall, but supermarkets are able to set their own rules for what products feature in their price comparison schemes. And also some products in the schemes are different sizes to others offered in rival supermarkets, so it’s hard to tell which one is actually the cheapest.
The investigation comes after a recent row involving a Sainsbury’s Brand Match ad, which suggested that customers shouldn’t bother shopping around for deals at Tesco and Asda because Sainsbury’s would give you the difference. But, taking deals and special offers into account, it turned out that you would actually save more by shopping in all three supermarkets, and the ASA banned the ad for being ‘misleading.’
But the bottom line is, price matching isn’t really going to save you much, anyway. Even if you turn up to all three supermarkets with a calculator and a secret shopper, like Which! did, you’d only come away with a paltry saving of £1.45.
Sum it up, Richard Lloyd!
‘Supermarket price-matching schemes can save you money but we believe they should be taken with a pinch of salt because they are difficult to compare. At a time when consumers are facing a squeeze on their household incomes, we want all the supermarkets to do whatever they can to help consumers find the best deal.’