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MONEY

‘Little mistakes’: Danish supermarkets overstep fixed prices by fractions of a krone

Fish, fruit bars and cheese were among products affected as Danish supermarkets Føtex and Bilka set prices marginally above previously-promised limits, according to a report. 

'Little mistakes': Danish supermarkets overstep fixed prices by fractions of a krone
Salling, which owns the Bilka and Føtex supermarket chains, said it will pay back any losses to customers after an 'error' caused prices on a small number of items to be set marginally above previously fixed amounts. File photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The Salling company, which owns three supermarket chains in Denmark including Føtex and Bilka, earlier this year placed temporary limits on the price of selected products, in response to inflation.

But a number of the products have since been sold for more than the fixed prices, broadcaster DR reported.

A review of prices conducted by DR, using data from the Beepr price checking tool, showed that not all of Salling’s prices were in line with the limits previously promised by the company.

Specifically, four products were found to be priced over the promised limits. 

The four products in question according to DR are a picture frame; a spreadable cheese from the P. Rondele brand; a 600g fish fillet in breadcrumbs, and Salling organic branded fruit bars. None of the products are priced at more than 10 øre (a tenth of a krone) above the advertised limit.

Around 200 different products at Bilka and Føtex were initially included in the price limit pledge. Additional products have since been added, bringing the total to 340-360 products according to Salling.

Salling director of communication Henrik Vinther Olesen said he “hoped for forgiveness” in comments to DR.

The company initially explained to DR that the higher prices were a result of special offers.

Products that had been on offer could see prices increase once the offer ended, despite having a limit placed on them.

But this was not found to be the case for two of the products in question, DR writes. Additionally, Salling said it had found two other products which had increased in price despite the prices ostensibly having been fixed.

“An error has occurred here when the prices should have been fixed,” Olesen told DR, noting that two of the products mentioned by the broadcaster had been “entered incorrectly”.

Although the amounts involved are small, he said that “if anyone has purchased large amounts of this so it can be rounded up and refunded, we will do it”.

“It’s not our intention that anyone should feel cheated. They should feel secure. So I also hope that people understand that these 5 or 10 øre [fixed price oversteps, ed.] are little mistakes that we have corrected,” he also said to DR.

Denmark is currently seeing a general trend of increasing prices at grocery stores as the country experiences record inflation.

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ENERGY

Denmark gives cash to 400,000 households hit by energy costs

A cash payout of 6,000 kroner was sent to around 400,000 households in Dennmark on Wednesday in a measure intended to relieve people struggling with high energy costs.

Denmark gives cash to 400,000 households hit by energy costs

The one-off payouts, which were agreed by parliament in March, were sent on Wednesday to over 400,000 households which meet the criteria set to receive the relief.

“We hope that this outstretched hand of 6,000 kroner will be a helping hand in a difficult time for Danes who are finding it hardest of all due to increasing heating prices,” the minister for climate, energy and critical supplies, Dan Jørgensen, said in a statement.

All residents of Denmark are eligible to receive the payments, provided their household meets the relevant criteria – not just Danish nationals as could be inferred from Jørgensen’s statement.

“It was important for the parties behind this agreement to help in a way that could be felt and in a targeted way. We think this cash will make a difference,” he said.

Households with a collective pre-tax income of under 706,000 kroner are eligible for the one-off cash boosts, which are costing the government 2.4 billion kroner.

Additionally, the household should be primarily heated by individual gas heaters, electronic radiators or be located in a district heating area in which the heating is produced by at least 65 percent gas.

Eligible houses do not have to apply for the cheque and will receive the payment automatically to their designated account (Nemkonto). In households with more than one person, the oldest member of the household receives the payment.

Errors in registration data can result in households which meet the criteria not receiving payments automatically, according to the Danish Energy Agency. People who believe that their household meets the criteria, but have not received the money, will be able to apply for it to be sent to them at a later date. Application will be possible from January 2023. 

Jørgensen said on Wednesday that the government did not expect any further cash payouts to be made to homes heated by gas. Instead, the government’s focus is to move away from dependence on gas as an energy source.

“Before the summer holidays we made a plan that ensures we phase out gas as a heating source, he said.

READ ALSO: Denmark announces major plan to replace gas heating in homes

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