FIFE Trading Standards officers have helped to identify pricing issues in shops which have negatively affected customers.

The team took part in a nationwide retail pricing investigation, where staff from 22 councils conducted checks within their areas.

The review, coordinated by The Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland, involved the inspection of 118 supermarkets and 228 medium or smaller sized stores throughout the country.

The aim was to detect pricing problems in retail shops, including goods with incorrect or missing prices, and prevent customers from losing out.

Fife officers checked the prices of more than 4,200 everyday items in 60 retail premises.

This involved spot checks by visually inspecting products and shelves as well as scanning items at tills to compare prices charged with those on display.

Nationally at larger chain supermarkets it was found that more than four per cent of goods had no pricing information and 6.5 per cent had incorrect unit pricing.

And 3.7 per cent of products were incorrectly charged at checkouts and 71 per cent of errors negatively impacted the customer.

The situation was worse at smaller stores with more than 14 per cent of products having incorrect or absent pricing, and 8.6 per cent of unit pricing information being incorrect or absent.

Almost 10 per cent of goods were incorrectly charged at checkout, with 70 per cent of mistakes having a negative effect on customers.

Shops found to have pricing issues were provided with written advice and in some cases warnings were issued.

Some were also given verbal guidance to improve pricing practices before follow-up visits.

Dawn Adamson, Fife Council trading standards manager, said: “Given the recent substantial increase in food prices, it is crucial that consumers are charged accurately and that prices are clearly displayed for easy comparison across different stores in a competitive marketplace.”