Discounter Lidl in the Line of Fire
By Ralph Kratzer
Actually, I don´t like going shopping in South Cyprus, because I am of the opinion, we live here in Northern Cyprus and therefore should boost the local economy.
And frankly, when you take into account all the circumstances connected with a cross-border tour to South Cyprus, for example the additional insurance for the car you need, the cost of fuel and the (from my point of view!) wasted time, then I personally can not see any significant advantage in shopping over there.
But some things, like my beloved Black Forest ham, for example, or original Bavarian beer, you simply cannot get here in the northern part of the island. So, last week I let myself be persuaded by my girlfriend to accompany her on a shopping tour to the southern part of Nicosia, the divided capital of Cyprus.
Of course the way took us inter alia to one of the meanwhile numerous branches of the German food discounter Lidl.
About the Lidl phenomenon I already wrote a detailed article entitled “Lidl – A German Success Story”, which is still to date one of the most read posts on my website “tfrnorthcyprus.wordpress.com”. To remember it – please click here.
Several times the business practices of the big discounter already got into the crossfire of criticism in the German media.
Now Lidl is in the press in Cyprus as well because of undergoing punishment for unfair competition.
In the southern Cypriot newspaper “Cyprus Mail” it was recently reported, that Lidl Cyprus will be forced to pay a fine of €20,000 after the supermarket chain violated fair trade practices.
According to the newspaper, the South Cypriot “Competition and Consumer Protection Service (CCPS)” announced last week, that Lidl had violated the rules of fair competition by advertising special offers on lamb meat during the Easter holidays but failing to provide its stores with sufficient quantities of it to meet the expected demand.
In some instances, Lidl´s prices for the product were half of those of other supermarkets, but they mostly ran out of the meat less than 20 minutes after opening its shops.
A high number of customer complaints sparked an investigation by CCSP.
Mr. Charalambous, the head of the department, stressed last week: “The law states that an invitation to buy a product must be accompanied by a disclaimer saying that the company might not be able to meet demand, if such a possibility exists. Failure to do so results in turning the advertisement into ‘bait’, so consumers can visit the store, which constitutes a violation of fair trade practices. A sign posted at every Lidl store saying that the stock was depleted, cannot in any circumstance be considered as adequately informing the public in general, since the company should have done so before and not after they ran out stock.”
Lidl managers told the CCSP as an excuse that they had imported seven times the amount of meat they usually do, but were overwhelmed by the demand.
In announcing the €20,000 fine Mr. Charalambous said his department took into consideration some mitigating circumstances, e.g. the fact that Lidl so far has a “clean record” in Cyprus concerning trade practices and that they had fully cooperated with the authorities.
Source: Cyprus Mail