Unit pricing tags are a handy tool for shoppers. Picture: Luke Marsden
Unit pricing tags are a handy tool for shoppers. Picture: Luke Marsden

What hardware stores should let you know

NEED two litres of white paint? It is cheaper to buy a four-litre can than two one-litre tins, but many shoppers wouldn't know.

Got a job to do at home that requires 40 rivets? Buying one pack of 100 will set you back less than two 25s.

These anomalies emerge from analysis by the man who got unit prices onto supermarket shelves.

He says it's time to expand the comparison system and that doing so could save consumers tens of millions of dollars a year.

"To me the figures clearly show that it would be beneficial for shoppers to know the unit price for many products sold in hardware stores," Ian Jarratt, an executive member of the Consumers Federation of Australia (CFA), told News Corp Australia.

Mr Jarratt and other advocates are making the case for an expansion to an official review of unit pricing currently underway.

News Corp can reveal a national survey of shoppers by consumer group Choice to support its argument shows 86 per cent of Australians believe unit prices should be extended to stores not covered by the code.

Hardware shopping could be made easier with the adoption of unit pricing on product tags.
Hardware shopping could be made easier with the adoption of unit pricing on product tags.

"Unit pricing is an incredibly important tool for shoppers to compare products and save money," said Choice spokeswoman Katinka Day.

Mr Jarratt, Choice and Labor told News they were concerned the review's consultation period of a month was too short.

After News raised these concerns with Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert he decided to increase the consultation period to three months, ending February 28.

The extension will "allow more time for public input on the unit pricing code to ensure that it continues to achieve the objective of supporting Australian households to save time and money," Mr Robert said.

When News told Mr Jarratt of the decision he said: "What a success. It's great we've got this extension."

He said it would give him and others a better chance to make the case for widening and improving the system.

Opposition consumer affairs spokeswoman Madeleine King said the review needs to consider how unit pricing "can further help Australians get a better deal at the checkout - including whether it's viable to extend the scheme to other retail outlets".

Consumers can participate in the review at tinyurl.com/unitpricing.

 

PRODUCT SAVINGS

Chipboard screws are sold in packs of 30 (small size) and 100 (large size), at a unit-price saving of 47%

Rivets are sold in packs of 25 (small size) and 100 (large size), at a unit-price saving of 63%

Decking oil is sold in 2L tins (small size) and 5L tins (large size), at a unit-price saving of 54%

White gloss paint is sold in 1L tins (small size) and 4L tins (large size), at a unit-price saving of 53%

Tile adhesive is sold in 0.75kg packs (small size) and 5.5kg packs (large size), at a unit-price saving of 51%

 

Source: Consumers Federation of Australia's Ian Jarratt



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