Supermarkets in Costa Rica may be faster and
looser than expats became accustomed in their home countries.
The consumer section of the economics ministry in its most recent foray into retail found short weights, trick pricing and special promotion where the shopper would end up paying more.
A related study showed that a shopping cart with 51 products suitable for a typical family ranged in price from 99,553 colons to 124,518 colons for a difference of 24,965 colons. In dollars that is $183.34 to $229.32 with a difference of $45.98.
A supermarket trick that is seen repeatedly and verified by the Dirección de Apoyo al Consumidor survey puts together two identical products and then prices the pair higher than if the shopper purchased the two items separately.
The survey report said that some stores showed lack of respect for clarity and truthfulness by offering products with commercial messages promising discounts or savings that the consumer was not able to verify at the store.
In reporting the results of the survey, the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio said it set up a program with the Laboratorio Costarricense de Metrología to verify the net contents of packaged products.
In the first set of 21 samples, the laboratory found one product that was short weight, the consumer office said.
The initial study about promotions and the store prices involved 12 supermarkets, including eight chain stores and four independents. The study of the shopping cart prices involved 51 supermarkets in San José, Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia, Puntarenas, Limón and Guanacaste.
The ministry said that the report from its consumer branch can be found on its Web site and that consumers can file complaints online, too.