Holiday toy survey again encounters dramatic price differences

The annual economics ministry survey of toys found price differences up to 80 percent.

For example, Mattel Hot Wheels at the Heredia Walmart cost 12,490 colons ($24.90). But at Multiplaza in Escazú the same product was offered by Tienda Simán for nearly double at 22,500 colons ($44.87).

Of course, the difference may not be the result of greed. Merchants include their overhead when they set prices, and mall locations are pricey.

The biggest difference in money was for a Fisher Price tricycle that was being sold for 24,780 colons ($49.41) at Universal in Real Cariari. Librería Lehmann in San José offered the same product for 38,125 (76.02), a difference of 13,345 colons ($26.61).

Similar but not identical articles showed dramatic differences in prices. A plastic tricycle sold from 8,500 colons ($16.95) up to 72,990 colons ($145.54), a difference of 759 percent depending on the store, the ministry said.

Even a 500-piece puzzle ranged from 1,359 colons ($3.71) to 7,270 colons ($14.50), a difference of 439 percent.
Surveys also found 50 of 296 items checked that did not comply with the law as far as disclosing legally required data. Such facts included the name and telephone number of the distributor, a label in Spanish, a statement of the country of origin or a recommendation of age for children who use the product.

Still the number of stores that had incorrect labels was lower than in 2010, the ministry found. In that year they found only 15 percent of the toys were labeled correctly.

The survey both years included stores in San José, Cartago, Alajuela and Heredia. But some stores that were new to the survey had more problems with labels.

A store like Lehmann had problems with 91 percent of its labels in 2010, but there were no problems this year, the ministry reported.

One product warned of small parts that might be a choking hazard for children, but the label was not translated into Spanish.

The Ministerio de Economía, Industría y Comercio can issue citations to merchants who fail to follow the law. Based on the most recent survey, the ministry filed complaints against three stores and issued warnings to others.

This entry was posted in Costa Rica News. Bookmark the permalink.