‘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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Denmark uses new method to collect debt from public

Last year saw Denmark’s public debt collection agency Gældsstyrelsen collect a record amount from people with debts to the state.

Denmark uses new method to collect debt from public

A total of 12.6 billion kroner was collected last year according to the agency, which is a part of the Danish Tax Authority (Skattestyrelsen).

A new and more efficient recovery system, termed PSRM, can be credited for the amount, the agency said in a statement.

The system allows the agency to deduct from debitors’ wages and tax rebates in order to clear the debt.

“We have created a collection with strong resources to recover the debt,” Gældsstyrelsen director Anne-Sofie Jensen said in the statement.

“With our new system and our many skilled workers we are moving step by step in the right direction towards bringing down debt to the state,” she said.

Last year the system saw the tax authority bring in 5.2 billion kroner in overdue repayments.

The amount was notably lower in 2020, when it reached 2.2 billion kroner.

“The annual result shows that we are succeeding with our core task,” Jensen said.

“We are recovering a lot of the debt that public creditors have failed to demand from members of the public and businesses before the debt was transferred to us,” she said.

“But we are also aware that there are still challenges we must overcome in the coming years so we keep our working gloves on,” she said.

The amount of debt recovered by the state has increased year-on-year since 2016.

However, the total owed by individuals and businesses has also increased during that period.

That debt was estimated at 152 billion kroner in total in 2022.