Choice targets duty free stores

 

airport signConsumer watchdog, Choice, has set its sights on duty free stores and pricing, with a spot check last month finding nine out of 13 products were more expensive at Australian duty free store than major Australian retailers and e-retailers.

“The temptation of gleaming showrooms lined with perfumes, cosmetics and alcohol can be hard to resist when in the spend thrift mode of international travel, but a quick price comparison via a smartphone could diminish the temptation to spend up large,” says choice head of media, Tom Godfrey.

In August Choice conducted a spot check comparing online prices at Sydney and Melbourne International terminal duty free shops with online prices for the same products at a range of major Australian retailers and e-tailers.

According to the study, which Choice says challenges consumer perceptions that duty free shopping is great value, deluxe sized bottles of liquor are the only consistently less expensive product in duty free shops.

“Consumers need to remember that shopping duty free may not guarantee the best deal on the market, and a quick price comparison could leave you with extra dollars in your pocket. There is a perception that duty free is less expensive and this is not always the case,” Godfrey said.

“There are certainly great deals to be found in duty free, however, running price comparisons can highlight if it is the best price on the market. Our spot check found the Samsung Galaxy Note II smartphone to be 10 per cent cheaper when purchased from Harvey Norman in store, rather than Sydney or Melbourne duty free.

“Clinique’s Youth Surge Age Decelerating Moisturiser was 16 per cent cheaper when purchased at cosmeticsnow.com.au – including shipping.”

According to Choice, Nuance, owner of duty free stores across Australian airports, has rejected the study, saying that using store websites to make price comparisons isn’t a valid approach since the authenticity of the products couldn’t be verified.

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