Tag Archives | dual pricing

H&M added to the “dual pricing rip off” hall of shame

This e-mail came through recently.

I have just returned from a shopping expedition with my wife and 2 daughters in Dublin city centre. My daughters are very fond of H+M and I also found 3 pairs of trousers that I liked. The Sterling price of the trousers per pair was £19.99 and the Euro price was €29.99. I’m absolutely flabbergasted by the extortionate exchange rate that is continually used by H+M since the Euro is now trading at 0.876397 which gives these trousers a Euro price of €22.80 if the true exchange rate were used. This exchange rate has been hovering around the 0.87 to 0.89 mark for some time.

A simple question must be asked. Why are H+M over charging the already hard pressed Irish consumer a whopping 32% more than their English counterparts? The answer I suspect is because they can. To add further insult, that wouldn’t take Sterling cash ( which I didn’t have anyway) for the Sterling price shown on the price tag. This just proves that it’s a carefully orchestrated pricing policy.

Any ideas on how to have this criminal practice highlighted would be appreciated.

A common topic from ValueIreland.com readers, but this reader has answered his own question – these shops charge these prices because they can, and because unfortunately there are still Irish consumers out there who’ll pay what’s asked unquestioningly.


Argos – more sterling to euro conversion issues

Following on from this mornings post, here’s another example sent through from a ValueIreland.com reader. Same response applies for this afternoon, but interestingly, you can also see the Argos justification also:

Just another example of British retailers looking to Rip off Irish Consumers here.

I was looking to buy a Sony Playstation 3 from Argos in Ireland but the difference between Ireland and the UK was over 22%. I queried it and Argos said it was down to currency. This can’t be right, if they are buying from one centralised location, they are paying the same price. This is profiteering by British Retail chain and blatantly at that. Please see the mail below from them.

This is the response that was sent to the reader from Argos:

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the price of the Playstation 3 with 80Gb Hard Disc Drive.

I am sorry to read your views regarding the price of the items you have been looking at.  Argos always aims to be competitive in the market and review our prices on a regular basis with numerous offers throughout the year.  The price difference to Ireland takes into account the additional shopping costs and the currency conversion.  The prices are fixed when they are put in the catalogue, taking into account the currency rate at that time.  Whilst we look to be competitively priced as far as possible, it is also not possible to adjust the price every time there is a change in the exchange rate.

I apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.


Sterling to Euro price conversion issue – again

This e-mail came in from a ValueIreland.com reader recently:

My query is about the pricing of the products in the Asian food Shops. Most of the ethnic foods in Ireland is imported from UK and they have the Sterling price printed on the them but the converted prices in Euros over the till are very high as compared to Sterling amount and sometimes its more than double. This has nothing to do with the conversion rate between Euros and Sterling but in general the products are very expensive.

If these products are imported from UK; then they should not be priced at such an rate as the sellers/ vendors are making huge margins both in UK and Ireland. And if they are directly imported from Asia; then they are are already priced at an reasonable rate for end-consumer in Sterling and the seller in Ireland is making double the profits then their couterparts in UK. But in both the insatnces its the people of Ireland who are paying from their nose for these products.

I will be in a position to produce the bills and packagings to support my claims.

And what is becoming my standard response to these types of e-mails:

Unfortunately, what you’re finding is quite common across many stores in Ireland. Shops in Ireland are allowed charged whatever they want since Ireland has no price control legislation. Therefore the only things that will control prices will be the costs of the retailer and the price that the Irish consumer is willing to pay.

As I’ve highlighted many times before on ValueIreland.com, Irish consumers in the past have been more than happy to pay the high prices charged in many stores, and it’s only in the last year are so since money became tighter that people have started to ask more questions than before about the prices charged.

The only option for Irish consumers is to shop elsewhere – ideally, to find stores that are charging more realistic prices. The options then for the stores charging the higher prices is to either close down because they’re getting no business (as we’ve seen many stores close already) or drop their prices to try to attract consumers back to their stores (as we’ve seen Tesco do in their border stores).


Sterling to Euro conversion rip off again

Another e-mail from a reader about the sterling to euro conversion rip off. Unfortunately things aren’t changing, despite falling costs in Ireland at the moment.

I’m emailing you because I’m hopping, ripping mad with rage at yet another example of overpricing, and need to get it out of my system!  I was in my local Centra today, was about to buy the Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special, and noticed that the sterling cover price of 1.82 had become 4.40 euro.  I pointed this out to the assistant and asked if she could check it because it was clearly wrong. She pointed to the Euro price for Greece and Spain of 4.40, saying that was the price.

I asked if she could check, she hadn’t time.  I asked for a manager, who wasn’t available. I told her I’d show her the conversion on another magazine for comparison, but she really wasn’t interested and by this stage a queue was starting to form so I said I’d check another magazine and come back to her.  The ‘normal’, i.e weekly Woman’s Weekly had a sterling price of 82p, Euro price for Greece/Spain of 2.70, Irish price 1.18 Euro. OK, a 50% markup, but I’m used to that.  Back into the queue, saw a manager this time, he said the 1.18 price was wrong and should be 2.70!

OK, it’s only a magazine, but I really wanted it.  Only, not at that price!

This has happened several times, which is why I’m spitting about it.  I was really embarrassed, other customers clearly thought I was making a big deal, but – a markup of nearly 150%??? And I’M the one left feeling bad??

Is there anything we can do about this?  I hate having stand-up rows in shops, it’s mortifying – but it’s far worse to be ripped off!! (And actually I don’t even think they’re trying to . . .)


More sterling euro conversion complaints

This e-mail arrived in the ValueIreland.com inbox in the past couple of weeks, detailing an issue that we’re all familiar with at this stage:

I was in Marks and Spencers Blanchardstown today – to get a dressing gown for someone. The price tag was €55, over a price of £35. There is no way I would pay this charge up. After querying this with a staff person, she advised me to complain saying the staff themselves thought the sterling – euro rate was a rip-off! She gave me a number to ring but when I tried it, it is out of service.

So I’m venting my frustration here! Have you any advice who I can complain to in M&S? It looks like all the pressure and publicity on M&S (and maybe other retailers like them) isn’t having much effect. Is it all hot air from the govt? All bark and no bite?

I took a photo of price tag and feel like sending it to a media outlet somewhere (and ideas?)  – naming and shaming might be the only thing that works.

As per my normal response to this kind of e-mail, there’s not really a whole lot that we as individuals can do, and any efforts at a more sustained united approach (such as the Q102 Ignore that Store campaign) simply fizzle out due to lack of interest from most except for a small few concientious consumers.

Unfortunately, though many people are experiencing the same issues as you have highlighted here, there’s not a whole lot we as individual consumers can do except for not shopping in stores where we think we’re being ripped off.

The fact that these shops continue to have these massive euro vs sterling price differences means that there are still enough people in the country willing to spend the asking money, ignoring the massive price gap.

All the stores involved in this sterling conversion ripoff have been repeatedly named and shamed in all sorts of media, yet the practice continues.

I’ll publish your experience on the website (leaving out your personal details) to draw others attention to the issue.

I’m sorry I can’t be any more positive on this, but this has been an issue for nearly 18 months at this stage, yet any negative coverage is ignored by the stores and mostly ignored by the shoppers who still spend money in the offending stores.


The Sun supports Irish consumers – sort of, maybe

This e-mail arrived in the ValueIreland.com inbox a couple of weeks ago.

Seems the Sun newspaper has decided to champion the consumer in the fact that irish consumers pay more for retail goods over the UK consumer  (see april 3 rd edition), marks and spencer and some other retailers were named and shamed and they are asking the public to call in and tell them of more nasty rip of retailers. So i did and told them of one i know.

However it wasnt the one they wanted to hear, when i informed  this rip off retailer was her company the SUN the lady on the phone said lady said “point taken” and put the phone down!. So suprising then that the Sun newspaper in the uk only costs 30 PENCE and the Sun in ireland costs 90 CENTS. Myself i have called them preiousley regarding this matter but with no reply. It does smack of the kettle calling the pot black dont you think.


I’m not familiar with this campaign, though I have checked the paper on a couple of occasions to see what they have to say. I’m told that my friends in the Consumers Association of Ireland are also involved. Lets hope their involvement in this campaign has more effect than the ill-fated Q102 Ignore that Store campaign before Christmas.


Why are shops blacking out or tearing off price labels?

Irish News of the World

Sunday April 5th, 2009

Diarmuid MacShane

Why are shops blacking out or tearing off price labels?

In the past couple of weeks, ValueIreland.com has received numerous e-mails from readers asking why in many shops now they’re seeing labels that are torn up or have been blacked out with heavy markers.

The main reason, following the big euro-sterling price conversion controversy last year, is to hide from us what the sterling of the products in our shops are.

Shops mistakenly think that by tearing off or covering over the sterling price, that we’re not going to know that we’re still being ripped off.

And they’re doing nothing wrong – as long as the correct prices are shown in Euro on the price tags, there’s no problem in removing the sterling prices.

Another interesting phenomonen reported to us recently was where shops in are blacking out the old (pre-January price rise) pre-printed price on old stocks of tickets and then charging the new price.

Again, there’s probably no legal issues in doing this, but you’d have to wonder what the bus companies think of this practice?


Why are Tesco really dropping the price of clothes?

Irish News of the World

Sunday April 5th, 2009

Diarmuid MacShane

Why are Tesco really dropping the price of clothes?

In mid-March there was much hoo-haa over the Tesco decision to charge the hard pressed Irish consumers the same amount in euro as in sterling for all clothes sold in Ireland. An item costing £12 would now cost us €12 instead of the outrageously high original price of €18.

We were told how brilliant Tesco were to be effectively giving us a price cut of up to 30%.

But were Tesco really being that generous? They’re a business after all with the main aim of making money. It was interesting to note that they weren’t making the same cuts on anything else – we’d still be overcharged on groceries and electronics for example.

An eagle-eyed ValueIreland.com reader spotted what was actually going on. Tesco in the United Kingdom had already reduced their prices on their clothing range back in January.

Tesco UK had to cut their prices on over 700 clothing items because of a price-war that was hotting up between themselves and ASDA.

So, in cutting their prices here in Ireland, Tesco weren’t really doing anything as special as they made out for Irish consumers.

Unfortunately it was all just spin. Their price differences between Ireland and the UK were actually higher than the normal 30-50% for the months of January, February and March so when the price drop came in here in March, they were only restoring the differences back to the normal 30-50% price differences.


Do you boycott shops and businesses?

I was walking past a place this morning on the way to work and started trying to remember the last time I’d been in there. It took me a food few seconds to remember that I was actually boycotting the place and that that was the reason I hadn’t been in there for about 2 years.

Do you have your own personal boycotts of businesses? In the greater scheme of things, it’s not likely that individually any boycotts will have any impact, but it can make us feel better.

And despite our history, we’re not all that good at unified consumer action in our own best interests.

The Q102 and Consumers Association of Ireland “Ignore that Store” campaign before Christmas really fizzled out, and despite calls from a number of fronts for Irish consumers to boycott stores involved in the euro-sterling pricing controversy, the practice continued unabated.

While a minority of people may decide to take action by avoiding businesses, the example of the euro-sterling pricing controversy shows that enough people continue to shop in those stores meaning that it’s more profitable for the stores to continue the practice rather than change.

From my own perspective, there are a few businesses that I will conscoiously avoid.

  • There’s a coffee shop in Dublin 2 that I’ll avoid both for their extravagently expensive pricing as well as the owner/managers shockingly ignorent treatment of both his customers and his staff.
  • There’s the whole company group that I avoid any business or product that they sell because of their involvement in a predatory pricing policy a number of years ago with the sole intent of closing down one of their competitors (a successful action as it turned out unfortunately).
  • There’s also another whole company group that I avoid because of the other companies that they’ve invested in in the past – unsuccessfully as it turned out (to my delight).
  • I’ve added a new business to my boycott listing this week following weeks of suffering that persons guff on the Irish Dragons Den. And it’s unfortunate, because I used to enjoy their products and service.
  • I’ve also started to avoid local shop close to where I live because of their excessively expensive pricing, plus also the fact that the number of times I was overcharged or shortchanged just became too common to be coincidences.

I know these companies don’t miss my business, and wouldn’t care one way or the other, but it’s important for me. And the thing about it for me is that there are valid alternatives to all of the above where I’m more than happy to take my business instead.

I think that if more people acted when they noticed an issue rather than talking to Joe, the dodgier businesses out there would slowly but surely lose business and end up having to do something about it – ideally to the benefit of the consumer.


Going cold turkey on sterling to euro exchange rate stores

This e-mail came in to ValueIreland.com last week and gave us a little chuckle:

I just want to let you know, I am 40 days clean of visiting any UK Retailer who is robbing us on the Sterling exchange and it feels very good indeed. For food I have discovered the wonders of Aldi and Lidl, Dunnes and Superquinn, fresh vegetables and excellent quality fruit. No prepared meals from Marks, not when they are double the price they charge in UK, so happy days.  Maybe they did me a favour anyway!!

The thing to remember though, is that even some Irish companies, as we’ve shown you recently, are guilty of using extravagant sterling to euro exchange rates that basically makes them bigger profits.


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