Finance Your Budget Avoid shonky claims in 2014: Choice

Avoid shonky claims in 2014: Choice

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· Six ways to save money
· Supermarket tricks

Getting mathematical at the supermarket banana stand may not be top of anyone new year’s resolution list.

But it should be, says consumer group Choice.

The group is urging Australian shoppers to stop listening to supermarket chains’ low price claims and start doing their own sums.

With supermarkets spending millions each year telling consumers they will get “lower prices every day” and prices are “down, down and staying down”, savvy consumers should look past the catchy slogans and compare the unit price on all products when doing the weekly shop, the group says.

Choice issued its top 10 new year’s consumer resolutions on New Year’s Day, with other top tips including how to avoid the “Australia Tax” when shopping online.

By learning how to use a virtual private network (VPN), Australian online shoppers can avoid being slugged with a price tag of up to 50 per cent more on some IT products and cosmetics.

Other resolutions include exercising scepticism when it comes to some “free-range” produce claims, comparing private health insurance bills and returning any faulty Apple products within two years.

When it comes to free range, reading the package carefully makes all the difference, Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey said.

“If the stocking density is above the 1,500 birds her hectare set out in the national model code you might want to reconsider paying a premium,” he said.

Consumers should also remember that “No refund” signs are illegal when the product is faulty and online reviews can’t always be trusted.

“Each year, Australian consumers are confronted with shonky claims, over-priced goods and ever-more complex products and services,” Mr Godfrey said.

“Following a few simple resolutions when shopping in-store and online will help to take the pressure of the family budget and encourage businesses to work harder for your loyalty.”