Pricewatch reader queries: Do Supervalu’s prices vary by location and how much is a UPC remote control worth?

Prices in rural towns and cable provider’s €20 charge for a remote control questioned

A reader by the name of Derek got in touch with two very different queries.

“Just wondering if you’d take a look into Supervalu’s pricing structure,” his mail starts. “I can’t be certain but I get the impression that they charge more for branded goods in small rural towns than for the same item in a city location”

He says higher prices are most likely to be found in “small rural towns when there is no other supermarket present but if there is an Aldi or Lidl present in the town then their prices are lower”.

He then suggests that Supervalu’s own-brand goods “seem to be priced consistently across the network but outside of that my impression is that they charge small rural town customers more for the same goods”.


We contacted the company and received the following statement: “Supervalu charges the same retail price for all products irrespective of location. On occasion, a price may vary due to individual stores running a local promotion or extending a promotion.”

Remote control

Derek has also suggested we take a look at UPC and its policy of charging customers €20 for a remote control for their boxes.

“My box broke down recently after five years’ usage, and they sent out a new one by courier. I was pleased as I presumed that it would come with a new remote, something I needed as the one I have has a good few buttons that barely work any more and need to be pressed with the strength of a rugby player,” he writes.

“Anyway the box arrived, sans remote. I rang up to ask them to send one, and the girl in the call centre told me €20 would be applied to my account. I refused it as I was quite annoyed, having given them about €4,000 of my hard-earned cash over the course of the past five years.”

Contract up

He then says his contract with UPC is up in eight weeks “so this is the straw that has broken the camel’s back and I’ve decided to spend the €200-odd and get a free-to-air set-up.

“In any case I believe their remote control policy to be in breach of consumer legislation, as it is not possible to use all the functions of the box using the buttons on the actual box, therefore in my mind a box that comes without a remote control wouldn’t be fit for the purpose it is described as having.”

He concludes by saying that “to heap some irony on top when I cancel my account in eight weeks they are going to have to send a courier out to pick up the almost-new box. I’d imagine the cost of the courier to them will be around €20.”


A spokeswoman for UPC said: “We’re sorry if the customer was disappointed.” She pointed out that universal remotes “can cost anything up to €30 and more” and said that while the company “regrets any inconvenience caused to our customer by charging for a replacement remote control, we don’t think our replacement charge for a new remote is unreasonable”.

Incidentally, you can buy a universal remote on Amazon for as little as €4.

Aer Lingus accused of acting like monopoly

Last week we said Irish people were not good complainers. It prompted Jim to contact us.

“I have had mixed results when complaining,” he writes. “Some firms are excellent to deal with, some terrible. I booked flights to the US in August last and had some trouble with the booking process.

“I contacted Aer Lingus repeatedly with the problem via email, phone, fax, and letter and have yet to receive a reply, except to say it is being looked into.”

He says he has now “given up on the complaint and on using Aer Lingus again. Aer Lingus seem to believe they are the only airline serving this island, and we must use them as though they have a monopoly.

“They would be better to consider their customers instead of worrying about the Heathrow slots.”

We got in touch with Aer Lingus which then contacted our reader and the situation was resolved to both parties’ satisfaction.