Consumer surveyors tackle the discount illusion

Shoppers in Costa Rican supermarkets know they are in uncertain territory.

The large economy size costs more per unit than the regular size. Two bottles of Coke Light wrapped in plastic sometimes costs more than two individual bottles.

And the bottles of alcohol are twice what they cost in other countries.

The phrase is predatory capitalism. And the only agency that makes an effort to rein in the excess is the consumer branch of the economics ministry.

That agency, the Dirección de Apoyo al Consumidor, gave the results Monday of another one of its surveys and said that eight of 14 supermarkets checked in San José, Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago did not comply with the law in advertising specials.

Sometimes the promotional price turns out to be more than the everyday price.

The supermarket surveyors also checked the weights of advertised products by submitting samples to the Laboratorio Costarricense de Metrología.

The survey was done in early April and included chains and independents.

Costa Rica has detailed laws on how products are to be presented to consumers. But in most surveys the workers from the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio find violations.

Sometimes these are unintentional errors.

One basic rule is that when a product is on special the regular price must also be shown.

The survey report said that in eight locations the offers lacked clarity and did not contain required information.

The ministry report said that these stores were in compliance: Automercado Moravia, Centro de Compras Heredia, Centro de Compras Pacifica Alajuela, Maxi Palí Tibás, Palí Tibás El Parque and Walmart Escazú.

In other locations the surveyors found that products packed with the works Gratis or Pack Especial actually were more expensive.

The survey also reported that all the products checked were of the correct contents or weight, according to the laboratory findings.

The full report is HERE!

Scrawled signs like this just will not do, the report said.

Scrawled signs like this just will not do, the report said.

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