Some merchandisers appear to have little mercy even during the runup to mother’s day, Aug. 15.
The economics ministry found interest rates on possible presents for mother that were as high as 97 percent. In addition a study of the marketplace showed that the same item was priced as much as 92 percent higher in some stores and that the price of similar items had a range of up to 399 percent.
The ministry conducted the study in July and announced the results Wednesday. Prices were checked on kitchen appliances and other products that might make a gift for mother.
The ministry also found that not all outlets were providing the information the law requires for consumers.
Prices were checked on rice cookers, automatic coffee makers, electric frying pans, refrigerators, electric stoves with ceramic tops, washing machines and 32-inch flat screen televisions. The surveyors visited 46 outlets in San José, Cartago, Alajuela and Heredia, the ministry said.
The Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio’s consumer office does similar surveys at peak buying times. For example,
the agency checks the price of seasonal foods before Semana Santa.
Interest rates for the products ranged from 42 to 97 percent, the survey report said. And two different types of financing had a difference of 60 percent for a typical washing machine, the report said.
In all cases, of course, the price after financing was significantly greater than the cash price.
The report said that the lack of information was mainly in the description of credit terms.
The survey showed that a Panasonic flat screen television could cost a purchaser 150,000 colons (about $300) at a store in Desamparados and 229,900 colons (about $460) in Zapote.
The biggest differences in similar items were for a rice cooker and a coffee maker. The rice cooker sells for 10,500 to 35,162 colons, a difference the survey report said was 335 percent. That’s about $21 to $70.40.
The 12-cup automatic coffee maker sells for 7,700 colons up to 30,700 colons, some $15.40 to $61.40. That’s 399 percent, the report said.