Passover ads have buyers muddled

Consumer protection group warns promotions are misleading and deceiving.

clothing store ad 88 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
clothing store ad 88 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Histadrut Consumer Association is urging the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry to crack down on retailers luring consumers by publishing misleading promotional ads for Pessah. "We are seeing a general trend of misleading and deceiving advertisement of promotional sales, in particular ahead of Pessah, published in the general media by the leading retail chains across the country," Yaron Levinsky, director of the Histadrut Consumer Association, told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday. "Consumers are lured to what is displayed as attractive discounts on goods, which in many cases are misleading. We have found that in many advertising promotions of sales items, the original price is not displayed, as required by law, and therefore consumers cannot compare how much of a discount they are getting." These practices, although not a new phenomenon in the Israeli consumer sector, were increasing as Pessah approaches, he said, adding: "The consumer public is harmed more than ever as the shopping trade volume during the holidays increases." In a letter to Yitzhak Kimchi, the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry's consumer protection supervisor, Levinsky called for enforcement of promotional sales pricing. Kimchi was unavailable for comment. The Histadrut Consumer Association found that several big food and hardware retail chains had not displayed the original pricing in a clear manner in their promotions. As a result, the consumer couldn't judge whether the original price of the item had been higher than the sale price. Other widespread cases of deception of prices included "buy one, get one free" sales pitches, in which the price of buying one item, or the original price, was not displayed; in some cases there was no price at all. "There is no such thing as getting items fully for 'free' in these promotions, which is a deception in itself," Levinsky said. "In practice, nothing is for free, and at the end of the day, consumers are paying for the purchase of these items. "We also found advertisement of sales promotions that displayed the discount in percentages without a price tag, the original pricing or the promotional price." Meanwhile, the Manufacturers Association of Israel reported Tuesday that despite the widely expected slowdown in the growth rate of the economy, Israelis continued to buy new furniture. According to the association, furniture sales over the past two weeks peaked and are expected to total some NIS 495 million, an increase of 10 percent from last Pessah, with particular growth coming in the sales of kitchen tables and chairs, which rose 17% during the same period. Amnon Schwartz, chairman of the Union of Furniture Producers, said approximately 80% of the purchases were of Israeli-made furniture, mainly because of attractive pricing and comfortable payment terms.