Shops slapped with fine, warnings for price control and display violations

Azlan Othman

The Department of Competition and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) found two premises violating the Seasonal Maximum Price (SMP) Directive, one infringement on Sales Regulation and one infringement on Price Display Regulation during a routine inspection yesterday.

Director General of the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics (JPES) Hajah Mariah binti Haji Yahya, as the price controller, led the inspection of five premises in Jalan Muara, as part of the daily routine inspections conducted by the DCCA.

The premises visited were supermarkets, an electrical store, and a home furnishing store.

Inspections focussed on compliance to the SMP Directive, which sets ceiling prices on essential goods during the festive seasons, and compliance to the law and regulations related to price display and sales activities.

The SMP Directive now covers seven categories of essential goods – whole chicken, chicken eggs, butter, margarine, ghee, condensed, evaporated/cream milk, and flour. The full list of maximum prices is available on the Pengguna Bijak mobile app and the JPES website.

One BND1,000 compound was issued to a home furnishing store for inflating pre-sale prices of some goods and for being unable to provide business information during inspection.

Director General of the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics Hajah Mariah binti Haji Yahya in conversation with staff at a supermarket. PHOTO: DCCA

A warning notice was issued to a supermarket for not displaying prices of several items.

Two warning letters were also issued to two supermarkets for not complying with the SMP Directive.

The DCCA advised retailers to ensure their labelling is not misleading, particularly on items offered on sale and related conditions to remain ethical, to safeguard consumer interests.

Since the start of Ramadhan, seven premises have been found violating the SMP Directive.

As a result, warning letters have been issued to retailers in the following areas: three in Tanjong Bunut, two in Tanah Jambu, one in Sinarubai, and one in Pekan Bangar.

The items found sold above maximum prices were butter, milk (condensed and evaporated), margarine, ghee and flour. In the past two weeks, the DCCA has taken action on businesses on a number of offences including three on Sales Regulation, 14 on Display of Price Regulation, and 14 for not complying with the SMP Directive.

The Display of Price Regulation and the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Order prohibit businesses from engaging in unethical business practices such as failure to display prices or present information that may mislead consumers in making purchase decisions, such as inflating pre-sale price or using ambiguous sales information.

Businesses found disregarding the law by not displaying prices of items being sold in their premises and engaging in unethical discount strategies may face a maximum penalty of a BND20,000 fine and five years imprisonment.