The Euro – Sterling Dual Pricing Issue (2)

The Irish Independent are gamely trying to continue the “controversy” over the Euro to Sterling dual pricing issue. Their article in todays paper, Shoppers fleeced by cross-border price gap, is merely a rehash of what’s gone before, and what’s been pretty much forgotten since the issue was first raised a couple of weeks ago. The article did garner the largest number of comments I’ve seen on any Independent article since they facilitated them.

As I mentioned in my original post at the end of May, despite all the posturing from Government and NCA at the time:

The truth is that there is nothing within existing laws that can change what’s currently happening with regards to dual pricing and the euro price being more expensive than the sterling price. There’s nothing that the UK multiples (and some Irish ones too – take note Dunnes Stores, we know you’re doing it too) are doing that is illegal or in contravention of consumer law. So, what we’re seeing is a whole to-do about nothing. The government are jumping up and down about this, the opposition are taken up with it, and the media are pushing the whole bandwagon along about something that it’s only us consumers can really do anything about.

And now two weeks later our Government and Regulator finally wakes up to this point as well. We have the following statement from An Tanaiste Mary Coughlan where she “is adamant that there will be no legislative change to force retailers to cut their prices”. A spokeswoman said there is an “ongoing process of engagement” with supermarket giants but said the Groceries Order will not be reintroduced. ”

And from John Shine, who is the director of commercial practices for the fuckers*, “admitted there is little the organisation can do to help consumers get better value.”

The Consumer Association of Ireland (of which I’m a director) is, through the vice-chairman Michael Kilcoyne, pursuing a change in the Companies Law which will force UK based retailers to reveal their profits for their Irish based stores. I’m personally at a loss to work out how that’s going to force the companies change their pricing practices. We know that Vodafone and O2 consistently make about €1m profit per day, yet we still all give them our custom.

So, what’s the solution to this?

Basically, we’re the solution to this. If you don’t like that M&S or Tesco or Boots or any other UK retailer based in this country is charging you more than their UK customers for the same items, then don’t buy them. Don’t go back to those shops. These shops will have two options if their customers start deserting their stores – they’ll reduce prices to attract customers back, or they’ll shut down. Neither is happening yet, so Irish consumers must still be shopping there.

So, go elsewhere to do your shopping. Find an Irish equivalent store, or the German multiples. Change your buying habits to avoid these UK retailers – there are alternatives. Use them!

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