I’m dreaming of a fairly-priced Christmas

Sleigh bells may not be ringing much in New Zealand but shopping till bells certainly are, and the Commerce Commission is dreaming of a fairly-priced Christmas for consumers.

“We want consumers to be confident that the price they pay is the price they should be paying this Christmas. For example, businesses need to ensure the price they charge at the till reflects the price displayed, and that all promotional pricing is accurate,” said Commission Chair Anna Rawlings.

“Pricing is not just a Christmas concern for us. We see complaints about it throughout the seasons, and we have lots of advice about pricing for businesses including a tip sheet for promotional pricing,” she said.

In 2017 after Bike Barn was fined $800,000 in relation to misleading discount pricing, the Commission also issued an open letter to retailers which contains information about pricing practices that might breach the law and offering guidance on how to avoid them.

“We’ve also got a useful series of short videos with Christmas shopping tips for consumers, covering online shopping, Christmas sales, refunds and returns, extended warranties, and gift cards,” said Ms Rawlings.

The Commission is also urging consumers to note its top tips for Christmas including:

  • Do your price comparison research: find out how much that product was before it went on sale. Then if you are being told it is 50% off you will know if this is genuine or not.
  • It is all too easy, especially at Christmas time, to think about the ‘now’. If you are borrowing money at this time of year, think about whether you will be able to afford your repayments 6 months down the track. Your creditor/lender should check your financial situation with you.
  • Be clear about your rights and obligations under any credit contract you enter into. If you do not understand the contract, do not be pressured to sign it. Get some advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau or community law centre if you need to.

The Commerce Commission wishes you a very safe and happy holiday season. May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be fairly-priced.

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