7 ways supermarkets rip you off and how to avoid them

Posted April 21, 2015 by Student Profit Staff

Here’s your guide to avoid getting ripped off by the big supermarkets and their supposed bargain deals and offers.

With the news that consumer watchdog Which? is to launch a probe over so-called supermarket bargains, we highlight some of the dirty tactics shops use to get us to spend more… and how to avoid getting caught out.

Supermarket offer

Non-existent offers

Sometimes a supermarket offer just simply doesn’t exist so make sure you actually read what that bright red or yellow label is saying.

‘Fake’ offers

Other times offers may be genuine reductions in price, but you may discover that the price was only that high for a week or two sometime months ago. Use a price tracker like MySupermarket to check if price reductions are genuine bargains or rather just the typical price.

‘Hiding’ cheap products

Supermarkets exploit a lot of inconvenient human tendencies to get us to spend more and one of these is placing more expensive brands within eye level. Flashy displays and and prominent packing also helps to distract. Cheaper brands end up situated out of the way, usually on the lower or high shelves so look out for them.

Buying loose v packaged

It’s usually cheaper to buy loose when it comes to fruit and veg… but not always. To get the best deal, simply use the scales nearby in the fruit and veg isles and weigh the packaged, fixed-price product. If the price given is cheaper than its being sold for then ditch it and buy loose, else stick with the pre-packed items.

supermarket fresh food

Dubious bulk prices

For reasons unknown, economies of scale and the usual reduction in price when buying in bulk doesn’t always tend to happen in supermarkets. Get your brain into gear and do some maths when whizzing down the isles to see what’s the cheapest deal, sometimes three smaller packs of something works out better than one bigger one.


Deals designed to shift stock

When it comes to offers such as ‘Buy 2, Get 1 free’ ask yourself whether you actually NEED more than one, let alone the three.

Wrong price at the checkout

Finally, you may find that despite all your hard work in hunting out the best deal, the price given at the checkout doesn’t match up. Check your receipts and be sure to talk to Customer Services about any discrepancies.


  • http://www.whatare-thebest.co.uk whatare thebest

    This is a comprehensive list of things, but it’s also important to
    make good decisions of the individual products in each case. I have put
    together a similar checklist on the following page for kitchen items:

    And also for bedroom items (including a laptop):

    If you need to make quick decisions on what to pack, take a look!

  • kodiguy

    Great article, its a shame that many people do not understand that some calls to larger companies ( even Government Departments) could end up costsing a lot of money if they are on the wrong calling plan or they do not check to call in the cheapest way.

    New legislation has made it unlawful for some companies ( soon to onclude Banks) to advertise 08 numbers for customer service lines, instead companies MUST use a number beginning 03- these are free if you have talkative/inclusive minutes on your mobile.

    This 0345 call costs calculator will give you an idea of how much it can cost to call an 0345 telephone number when you have no minutes – for example a 20 minute call on Three will cost £0.60p the same call on vodafone will cost 10 times as much!