Consumer group looks to pressure supermarkets into discounts

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 10th July 2008

A new consumer group, Action Village, is planning to use the power of a large group to coerce retailers to drop their prices.

Action Village is seeking to gain one million members before they plan to go to the negotiating table with supermarkets, petrol chains and other retailers with regard to possible discount offers.”We’re aiming to build an army of consumers and empower them to take action against the obscenely rising prices that we’re encountering at the moment, particularly with fuel,” reports Bill Burdin, one of the founders of Action Village.

Action Village has been set up to run online from the website www.actionvillage.com.au, with those who join being able to use the site to view the discounts that have been negotiated with retailers. They will, eventually, receive a plastic membership card they can use when they shop at those outlets.

Signing up to Action Village is free and the card will be issued for free to those people who successfully invite five other people to join, according to the group. “We will not be issuing the cards until retailers join the initiative,” Mr Burdin added. “A retailer must nominate a discount on the check-out price that they’re prepared to offer the membership.”

Mr Burdin outlines that the key objective, at this stage, is to build up Action Village membership so that it has enough power to make retailers take notice. “The strategy we’re using is to call consumers to action first,” he said. “I suppose you could say that we are the trade union for consumers. Individually we don’t have a voice, but if we’ve got a million members who collectively ask ‘What discounts can you give us?’, then retailers will definitely come to the table. Business is all about buying power. The bigger your buying power, the stronger you are at the negotiating table.”

The group claims they are confident of reaching the one million member target based on the current economic conditions confronting consumers and the capacity of their website to enable quick membership growth.