Co-op fails to co-operate

The Co-operative Group (CWS) Ltd were fined £15,300 and ordered to pay costs of £1,520 by Wimbledon Magistrates following a prosecution by Merton’s Trading Standards Service due to a range of pricing problems.

Merton Council’s Trading Standards Officers visited the Co-op’s store in Mitcham Road, Tooting in June 2003 and found a catalogue of issues. A large number of products were not price-marked and 12 products scanned at a higher price at the checkout than the price indicated on the shelf. Peanuts, wine, a Mars bar, crisps, cakes and breakfast cereals all went through the till at a higher price. Trading Standards had even given the store an advance notice of the visit, but the store still failed to get it right.

At a meeting the Co-op’s management assured Trading Standards Officers that the issues would be resolved. However when a further visit was made to the store in August 2003 yet more problems were found. Soup scanned at the checkout at a higher price, and 40 items were not price marked including soft drinks, biscuits, chocolate, tissues and other everyday goods. Over both dates a total of 70 offences were found.

Ian Murrell, Merton Council’s Commercial and Trading Standards Manager said, “The law requires that traders indicate a selling price for goods so that consumers can make an informed choice as to whether or not to purchase those goods and that price must be accurate. This fine sends out a clear message to stores that it is simply unacceptable to overcharge Merton residents.”

If you have any concerns about incorrect pricing in other stores in the borough please contact Merton Council’s Trading Standards officers at 020 8545 4018.