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Harvey Norman Called Out For Questionable ‘Deal Saving’ Promotions

Several retailers have been called out in New Zealand for their price promotion claims including Harvey Norman and Noel Leeming, with questions now being asked in Australia about similar practises across multiple retailers.

Six of the seven products the Consumer site tracked at Harvey Norman were promoted with deal-saving claims every week.

The Panasonic 32L Genius Inverter Microwave Oven went from a “Price Matched” $240 to a “Price Reduced” $313 the following week.

It was then marked at $249 for four weeks, before rising to a “Price Matched” $298 for two weeks. Two weeks later, it was a “Huge Deal” $268.

We saw a similar pattern with the VS Sassoon Expert Turbo Hair Dryer. One week it was priced as a “Big Deal” of $36 and the following week a “Hot Deal” of $39. The hairdryer graduated to a “Huge Deal” eight weeks later (but was still $36).

A Harvey Norman spokesperson said it “doesn’t wish to make any comment” when we asked it to explain the huge variety of price promotion deals and what they meant.

According to Consumer several retailers have been called out by the Commerce Commission for their price promotion claims.

While offering special deals is legit, if a business routinely sells a product at a “special” price that’s really the usual selling price.

One of the retailers identified was Strandbags who is currently facing seven charges over price promotions.

The commission alleges that between July 2018 and January 2020 Strandbags routinely advertised “sales” even though bags were being sold at their usual price or close to this price.

Consumer claims that he top four things you need to know about sales.

A sale must be a genuine opportunity for consumers to buy a product at a discounted price. It should be for a short period, and the start and end dates should be clear.

The reason for the sale must be genuine. Retailers can’t have a “closing down” sale if they have no intention of closing.

Retailers should clearly indicate any items excluded from the sale and any stock limitations must also be made clear. For example, you might only be able to buy four rolls of that cost-price toilet paper.

You may come across was/now pricing where the special price is compared with the manufacturer’s recommended retail price (RRP). If the retailer usually sells the product below RRP, it’s misleading to use the RRP in a price promotion.

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