Watch that cash register, check your receipts!

16/02/2015 16:29

Consumers are being cautioned to keep their eyes on the cash register and check their receipts when shopping, particularly at supermarkets.

This warning comes as the Council continues to receive complaints from consumers who have been charged a different price from the product display price when at the checkout counters.

These vigilant consumers found the price registered on their receipts not matching the price on the shelf or on the product. While these consumers have made the effort to officially lodge a complaint with us, the Council is concerned that there may be hundreds of supermarket customers who are unknowingly being short-changed.

The Council’s own market surveillances have also found instances where there were mismatches between the displayed price and point of sale (POS) price. We had found traders making excuses such as “the cash register was not updated” or “there was a misprint on the display price”, and other lame excuses.

This mostly happens when an item is on sale. The sale price will be displayed but at the checkout, the wrong amount is recorded. There are also cases where an item is on special with the wrong price printed on flyers or posters. In one case, a supermarket had on its flyer a price of $3.95 for 30 eggs; however, a consumer found out that the real price at the cashier was $9.95. In another case a consumer bought a deodorant at a prominent Suva supermarket with a displayed sale price of $3.49, but he ended up paying $5.59 at the counter. The Council found that the supermarket had not updated their POS sale cash machines.

Consumers should demand to pay the displayed price. Traders who provide misleading price displays can be taken to task as such acts are illegal under the Commerce Commission Decree 2010.Traders who put an item on special or sale but charge a higher price at the point of sale can be prosecuted for contravening the Decree. Section 77 (1) (g) of the Decree makes it unlawful for anyone to make a representation concerning that a price advantage of goods or services exists if it does not. The Council is aware of cases that the Fiji Commerce Commission has prosecuted against traders who have been in breach of the above mentioned provision of the Decree.

Consumers should always be on alert especially when out doing their weekly grocery shopping when a large number of items are being purchased and consumers lose concentration on what they are buying.

There are also instances where cashiers erroneously input the wrong price or make the wrong number of swipes on the product being purchased.

The Council is urging consumers to use a simple calculator to keep a track of what they are putting in the basket or trolleys. This way they can crosscheck and verify what they are paying at the checkout counter. And the golden rule must be followed all the time – check your receipts with what all you have bought.