Shoprite Malawi, a subsidiary of South African-based Shoprite Group of Companies, has instructed its management to report any “deceptive” conduct in pricing to its headquarters in South Africa.
The move comes after a warning issued by Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) executive director Charlotte Wezi Malonda early last month to some top super markets that are “intentionally engaged in deceptive pricing to defraud unsuspecting consumers”.
CFTC said its investigations into the top 10 supermarkets in Lilongwe and Blantyre revealed the deceptive conduct which includes displaying lower prices on the shelves and charging higher prices at the till, displaying edible food products bearing two expiry date labels and displaying lower overall amount on the till screen while the printed transaction receipt shows a higher amount.
Although CFTC did not name and shame the supermarkets, Shoprite Group of Companies corporate communication manager Sarita Van Wyk said on Friday the company had bar-coding problems which she said have been rectified.
In response to an e-mailed questionnaire, she said: “We had a situation about two and a half years ago where Sobo two-litre squash was sold at a price of Mzuzu Honey [and] our information technology department rectified it immediately and customers were given back the money.
“We have recently taken action and made sure all product labels on the sales floors are up-to-date and in place. The service department scales are checked every morning and compared to the product label price. Any discrepancies found are corrected immediately.”
Wyk said since the meeting they had with CFTC a few weeks ago regarding an issue that happened at one of the super markets, all their stores managers have been told the importance of pricing accuracy.
CFTC director of consumer welfare and education Lewis Kulisewa said they have been receiving a range of complaints on deceptive pricing and other issues, but have not quantified them.