THE Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE) at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) through the Department of Competition and Consumer Affairs, recently conducted visits to the Jerudong Market and Gadong Market to remind traders to clearly display the price tags or signs, and to conduct business ethically.
The visits, which covered 49 stalls in the Jerudong Market and 68 stalls in the Gadong Market, were conducted to protect consumers and promote ethical business practices in the market.
The traders were informed that under Section 2 (1) of the Price Control (Display of Prices) Order, it is illegal to sell any consumer product for retail without an appropriate price tag, label or marking to tell the consumer the price of the items.
The benefits of price tagging is to provide consumers with adequate information, and allow them to compare the quality and prices of goods. It also discourages and minimises haggling, which is a waste of time, money and energy for both buyer and seller.
During the operation, many traders were found to be selling goods without price tags. They shared that price tagging can cause ‘inconvenience,’ citing issues such as the changing prices of fresh goods, competition among sellers and lack of knowledge on the price tag law.
The traders were advised to use simple price tag cards that reflect the latest prices of the goods per unit (piece, kilogramme, bundle), or to have a price list displayed at visible spots.
JPKE officials also exchanged dialogues with members of the public, explaining that fish and vegetables are not price controlled items, however under Section 2 (1) of the Price Control (Display of Prices) Order, sellers are required to display price tags clearly to ensure price transparency and ethical business conducts. This applies to all sundry goods including foodstuff, beverages, fabrics, pharmaceutical products and electrical appliances.
Consumers are also protected through the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Order 2011, in which traders are deterred from unethical conducts such as providing misleading information on the source of the products, noting that there is a significant price difference for local and imported fish. Another common complaint is the changing or increasing price during the transaction.
JPKE also conduct daily inspections to business premises in all four districts to ensure prices of price controlled items are not sold above the maximum price.
On average, 240 different premises are inspected every month. These include 205 premises in the Brunei-Muara District; 15 in the Belait District; 15 in the Tutong District and five in the Temburong District. JPKE will continue to conduct inspections.
Members of the public are encouraged to be the ‘eyes’ and ‘ears’ by sharing their feedback on consumer issues through the PenggunaBijak or SmartConsumer mobile application, by calling 2230223 (office hours), e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or visiting its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AduanPenggunaJPKE.
Alternatively they can go directly to the Department of Competition and Consumer Affairs, Room 3.06, Level 3, West Wing, Department of Economic Planning and Development, Block 2A, Jalan Ong Sum Ping, BA1131
Businesses found to not be putting up price tags can be issued a warning notice for the first offence and a compound of no more than BND1,000 for subsequent offences. Further offences could result in the individual being taken to court to face the following penalties: A BND5,000 fine and imprisonment for two years for the first offence; or a BND20,000 and imprisonment of five years for a repeated offence.