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ACCC supermarket inquiry: Time running out for Aussies to make their voices heard

The consumer watchdog is still looking for people to voice their issues about shopping at the likes of Coles and Woolworths.

Aussies who want to share their thoughts on the alleged price-gouging practices of the two supermarket giants have just over a day left to do so.

Woolworths and Coles are being investigated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) over claims they are ripping off shoppers and suppliers while raking in more than $1 billion in profits.

The ACCC has been taking submissions from everyday Aussies about how the supermarkets’ pricing techniques are affecting them and the impact on the wider community during a cost-of-living crisis.

Building with supermarket signs from Coles and Woolworths
The ACCC is looking for submissions from everyday Aussies about their shopping experiences at supermarkets like Woolworths and Coles. (Source: Getty)

Do you have a story? Email stew.perrie@yahooinc.com

Submissions have been open since the end of February and they officially close tomorrow (April 2), meaning there’s not much time left to register your thoughts and feelings with the consumer watchdog.

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“We know that consumers and suppliers alike have a range of concerns about Australia’s major supermarkets, and this is their chance to have their say,” ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said.

“We will be using our legal powers to compulsorily obtain data and documents from the supermarkets themselves, but consultation with consumers and grocery-sector participants is an important first step in our inquiry.”

If you want to lend your voice to the ACCC’s inquiry, you need about 10 to 15 minutes up your sleeve to fill out the survey. You can be completely anonymous if you wish, or you can attach your personal information to the submission.

There have already been some harrowing stories uncovered from the more than 13,000 submissions to the ACCC’s investigation.

Supermarket customers reported changing their shopping habits because of the rising cost of groceries, with some skipping meals and parents forgoing food so their children could eat.

Keogh said the submissions so far had lifted the lid on what it was like to be a struggling Australian at the moment. He called on others to speak out while they still had a chance.

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“Taking into account the demographics of those who have already responded, we particularly want to hear from more adults under the age of 30, people for whom English is not their first language, and people in rural and regional parts of Australia,” he said.

“Having responses that reflect the whole community’s experience will help us to identify the right issues that need to be explored more deeply in our inquiry.”

Shoppers wanting to make a submission will be asked to highlight times when they have experienced what they thought were “confusing or misleading” practices, including “was/now” pricing or “shrinkflation”.

Was/now pricing can be deceptive if a supermarket claims to offer a discount on a certain product but it has actually increased the product’s price briefly before the sale, whereas shrinkflation is usually when the size of a product gets smaller while its price remains the same.

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