Consumers kept in dark by Coles’ refusal to go online

Posted by Josette Dunn on 27th August 2010

Consumer group CHOICE has described Coles’ decision not to publish its in-store prices online as a major disappointment and has called on the supermarket chain to reconsider.

Online shopping

Coles’ announcement means Australian shoppers will not be able to use the internet to compare the cost of shopping at the nation’s two major supermarkets, as is possible for airfares,

“We at least expected Coles might try to put some of its prices online as ALDI does and Woolworths has started doing,” says CHOICE spokesman Christopher Zinn.

“Following the previous government’s backflip on the Grocery CHOICE price comparison website, the supermarkets and Minister Emerson promised to develop an industry solution.

“Coles’ decision makes clear this approach has failed.

“Shoppers will only get information about the prices that Coles wants them to have, such as in brochures and paid advertisements. In practice, it is impossible for shoppers to find out the price of a basket of goods before they hit the checkout.  The major supermarkets claim to be introducing state-wide pricing on dry goods, they clearly have the technology and web presence to make pricing information available
and they have spent millions on advertising claiming that prices are coming down across their stores.

“Denying consumers useful price information reflects either a failure of will or a desire to soften competition. Supermarket competition remains a major concern for consumers and real pricing transparency would improve the situation markedly,” said Mr Zinn.