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08.2011

Massachusetts Beverage Business

archivedOnWineReport

WATCH OUT FOR THE OLD LABEL SWITCH-A-ROO

She may be a thief but you can say this for her: she’s got good taste. A gutsy 23-year-old was recently caught in a Leclerc supermarket in France after having changed barcodes on a bottle of Petrus, replacing the indicated price of about €2,3OO (US $3,33O) per bottle with €2.5O (US $3.7O) labels, according to Agence France Presse. But for every person caught, many more get away with such label switching. According to fraud experts, the woman represents the tip of the iceberg. Although a bottle of Petrus should be easily recognizable, most cashiers cannot tell the difference between cheap and expensive wine. If dishonest clients unpeel the price label from a bottle and put it on a more expensive one, they can get away with it, David Bruguiere, wine buyer for Leclerc said. Such label switching is particularly easy during the “foires aux vins” – annual wine fairs at French supermarkets. During the foires bottles are sometimes left unlabelled and unused barcodes are left unsupervised, a representative for the supermarket chain Auchan said. “We are working on preventive measures,” said Bruguiere, “but we are not sure what we can do yet.” How about keeping bottles of Petrus under lock and key for a start?

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