Fri | Dec 9, 2016

Give the consumers a break in 2015

Published:Saturday | January 10, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:Recently, I had the need to purchase an imported item locally, but was shocked by the prices quoted. So I went online to one of the most credible sites, and while I had expected the prices I saw, I was awed. I purchased the item, had it shipped to North Carolina in the United States and sent to me via Florida. The item cost me almost three times less than the prices quoted here in Jamaica. And, it is instructive to note that this was not a bulk purchase - I only purchased one unit.

For years, consumers have been tricked into believing that price - not only for imports - are significantly as a result of our declining Jamaican dollar and energy. But is this the whole truth?

We look also at the cost of local products, in particular food, and marvel when we see the prices to the end users. Is it really the farmers that are benefitting from their long and arduous toil?

profit-service ratio

Too many companies and individuals believe that they must make supernormal profits, but are these profits really commensurate with the efforts to generate the service to the consumers? And to what end and at whose expense are they making these huge profits?

Too many consumers have, for many years, been struggling to satisfy their basic needs while service providers appear uncaring. And yes, I must admit that as consumers, we are too docile and have not developed the tenacity to turn our back on certain items or services.

I really believe that consumers deserve a break in 2015 and I must commend Jamaica Broilers for taking the lead as a result of reduced energy costs. But what of the other service providers? There are banks that have introduced some ridiculous minimum monthly balance charges and other fees that are frustrating the consumers who try to put aside something from the little that they earn. Can these charges and fees be removed?

How can we progress as a country when the majority of our working class are struggling to satisfy their basic needs? The pricing mechanism needs to be revisited - the costs of most goods and services to the consumers don't have to be so high.

Give the consumers that deserved break in 2015.

PAT WILLIAMS BIGNALL

wilbig@cwjamaica.com