9 False Discounts at Stores in Spain
Competition is at an all-time high between both online and traditional stores. As consumers we’re bombarded with promos, offers, discounts and freebies in order to get us to part with our hard-earned cash. But it pays to take a couple of minutes to reflect before you buy.
BOGOFFs, 3×2, 4×3
Buy One Get One Free, or BOGOF, is your local supermarket’s favourite type of promo. Why? Because they know that you can’t remember every price.
In reality in these type of offers the unit price is always higher that what you’d normally pay. Rather than get one item totally free, you actually get a small discount and in some cases you may even end up spending more.
There’s even a dedicated website for Carrefour’s blunders. Take a look at Harto De Carrefour (Fed Up Of Carrefour) – the name says it all.
Buy One & Get Second Item 70% Off
Wow, 70% off sounds like such a great offer, but once again unit prices are inflated.
Seen at one supermarket: Pâté original price 3.25€, now 5€ and second item 70% off 1.50€. Let’s do the maths: original price 3.25€x2 = 6.50€, offer price 5€+1.50€ = 6.50€.
Consumers do not like to be treated as idiots.
Items “Rounded Down” to 1€ / 2€
Another ploy by supermarkets is the idea that they’ve rounded down their prices to the nearest euro. However, some places are so lazy that they leave the original price label on the shelf below the “special offer” price.
Watch out for products priced between the 0.98€ to 1.02€ sold for 1€, not exactly a bargain.
False Previous Price
With online stores, outlets and sales from abroad, the concept of buying during the summer or winter sales has become somewhat blurred.
In Spain the regulation that items must have been on sale for one month at the higher price displayed on a discount label was discontinued in 2012.
Some stores just invent the “was” price in order for the “now” price to be more attractive.
For items sold by major brands with their own online store, consumers should check the usual price.
No “IVA” Days
Most stores use this promo to sell big ticket items such as TVs, computers and smartphones. In big letters you’ll see that you can save the equivalent of sales tax (21% on mainland Spain and the Balearics) which looks like a fantastic saving.
But once again the previous price is inflated.
It’s easy to calculate savings during this type of promo, just compare with other stores selling at the normal price.
A bit trickier as some stores really do offer interest-free credit from time to time.
First of all by law the small print must include all the details and an example of an amount financed and the final amount repaid.
Check that the TIN and the TAE rates are both 0%. The TIN rate is the interest rate without any extras, the TAE rate includes any other concept such as an arrangement fee. If the TAE is 0% then the example in the small print will show the amount financed is the same as the amount repaid.
In most cases it’s not the stores themselves that offer credit, but a finance company. This means that they will have your data to try and sell you more finance products in the future.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Every year Spanish consumer organisation OCU takes a look at the major stores in Spain to see whether they really have reduced prices or not. We suppose you can guess the results!
Here’s a table provided by OCU where you can see the percentage of prices increased and decreased by stores for these two promotion days. Overall only Fnac really showed reductions, and even then only by around 7%.
Using “Hasta”, “Desde” and Small Print
A speciality at clothing and footwear stores. Discounts of up to (hasta) 70% when only 5 items have this discount or prices from (desde) 5€, when you can only find a couple of items.
Reduced items are often located at the back and next to items not reduced. For stores it’s the best way to get you to walk around and buy something you didn’t come in for.
Free Shipping, At a Price
You click on an email showing free shipping at your favourite store, but it turns out that there’s a threshold. So you end up buying an extra item just to meet the threshold and get your “free shipping”.
And if you think you know the threshold for the store you use the most, many online stores make things even more difficult by continuously tweaking the threshold for free delivery.