Local News

Kroger Sues Raleigh Company to Keep Price Comparisons Off the Web

Posted August 18, 1998

— We all want to save money when buying groceries. A Raleigh company has come up with a way to compare grocery prices on the Internet. But as WRAL'sTom Lawrenceexplains, a lawsuit may kill the idea.

Grocery shopping is a tedious necessity. We all want a bargain and all stores offer them. Shopper's Edge, a website by Raleigh's Admark Media, would offer consumers a way to compare prices, for a fee, on the same merchandise from five major supermarket chains.

"Today there are some supermarkets that do offer pricing information on the Internet," says Admark Media's James Pflaum. "But it's a single site, so consequently, the consumer has to go from one site to another."

Kroger decided not to participate in the venture and has sued Admark to keep price checkers out of its stores.

In part, Kroger says:"No commercial venture, including Admark, can insure that its reporting of price information will be one hundred percent accurate. For these reasons, Kroger believes Admark's venture does not provide comparative pricing information on local supermarkets that is accurate, timely, or useful."

"We maintain that what we're looking at, basically, is not an Admark versus Kroger, but an issue about consumer's right to know," Pflaum said.

Would shoppers use such a service?

"It could obviously save money," says shopper Lynn Ogburn. "I would not do it regularly, probably. I'd do it once or twice a year and pretty much go with what I found there."

"It would let me know where the best prices are," according to shopper Karen Aikin. "And that would be interesting to me to know."

The site is not active and may never be if a federal judge rules against Admark.

"The price comparing aspects of the Internet's potential are essentially lost until our suit is heard again by another party," Pflaum said.

Pflaum says he will appeal if the court rules against Admark. A Wilmington, North Carolina judge could rule this week on a temporary restraining order against Admark.


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