Consumer group choice is warning shoppers of bogus price-promises. Some large retailers are making grandiose claims, with phrases like, ‘Will beat any price’, or ‘Lowest prices guaranteed’, when a look at the offer’s fine print reveals they are anything but.

Any salesperson will tell you 99 per cent of the sale is getting customers in the door. And that is just what these price-promises are meant to do.

Many shoppers won’t even know they have been ripped off. They will simply pay the advertised price and believe they have got a bargain.

Others will look at the item and struggle with the tricky terms and conditions. They will buy the item not knowing if they have a deal or not.

Some will read the fine print, realize the advertised promise had a hidden addendum, but be persuaded by the salesperson to buy it anyway.



Common small print exceptions included adding location requirements, such as any cheaper offer needs to be within 10 kilometers of the store.

Choice found a Retravision price promise with the small print saying, “in some cases there are prices which Retravision Online cannot match. In these cases we will offer you the best possible price that we can.”

That leaves a lot of scope.

Choice found that the “lowest” or “best price” guarantees offered by many major retailers including Toys ‘R Us, Officeworks, Harvey Norman, Chemist Warehouse, and Bing Lee had dangerous loopholes. In each of these cases the same product could be bought much cheaper form competitors.

Check the terms and conditions on price-promises. Have your cheaper offers documentation with you. Shop around, and don’t be afraid to walk out if the reality doesn’t match the hype.

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