Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Supermarkets under scrutiny for illegal pricing practices

Published:Wednesday | October 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM

DOLSIE ALLEN, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC), has called on business owners to refrain from illegal pricing practices.

Supermarkets are to come under intense scrutiny from the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) following questionable pricing occurrences recently.

She noted that this is not confined to supermarkets alone, as many businesses have been using economic constraints as an excuse to hike prices. Allen however cautioned that the rights of the consumers must be given priority.

"Some of them (businesses) have said that the consumers try to beat the system by changing prices, and so when they go to the cashier, they get the actual price, but I must make it clear that you cannot do illegal things and think that you are in the right," Allen told The Gleaner.

"We have written to several owners, and we have done shopping from time to time depending on the number of complaints we have received, and we will be engaging very closely with the FTC," she said.

Best outcome

Allen added: "Our aim is not to close any business. We want to ensure that we get the best outcome for the customers and also create that balance with the businesses as well."

The CEO also noted that customers are continuously being asked to do more with less.

"We have to understand that consumers are becoming more vigilant because times are getting increasingly hard. I go to the supermarket and see persons with their calculators and other devices adding prices because consumers are ensuring that their expenses are in line with their budget," she said.

"Many of them (businesses) are insisting that the sliding dollar has resulted in regular price changes. Some even go as far as saying based on the number of items that they have, they do not have the manpower to change prices manually," Allen lamented.

"They cannot make the consumers suffer, however, because of a shortage on their part. They must ensure that the needs of the customers come first," she declared.