A welcome decision
decision taken by Minister Johnston Fernando to have the price
mark displayed on all products advertised on television is a
commendable one. This will now enable consumers to do a budgeted
shopping with the knowledge of the exact price of the goods they
intend purchasing, beforehand. This will also prevent consumers
being cheated by unscrupulous traders and also eliminate the
blackmarket to some extent. The Minister must also ensure such
price marks displayed are the authentic ones because any one can
place whatever price that takes his fancy. A special unit should
be appointed to monitor this aspect to detect arbitrary pricing.
The absence of a price mark on most goods have resulted in
different prices for the same item or commodity at different
sales points. The latest move will ensure uniformity. The price
mark will also obviate the need for bargaining and haggling by
consumers leading to unpleasant scenes.
Shoppers can now be assured that they are not being taken for
a ride with uniformity in prices assured. Often times one comes
across price marks on certain products particularly in the super
markets that are well below what is actually being charged and
the stock answer is that such price marks were done before the
latest price increases. A method should be found to overcome
this and the actual price mark attached thus eliminating the
chances of customers being fleeced. All price marks in products
should be updated.
According to our story in the inside pages yesterday the
Government has made compulsory the displaying of prices of
products that are promoted and advertised through the print or
electronic media with effect from March 1. The Minister also
stated that the Government has brought new laws to prevent
advertising of products without displaying their prices.
Advertising firms will henceforth have to display price tags on
the products of their clients.
While the Minister's move to save consumers from being
cheated where prices are concerned deserve praise he must also
take steps to ensure all other aspects in the products confirm
to required standards and are safe for use. We say this because
with the new regulation to display prices on products coming
into force there will be a tendency on the part of some product
manufacturers to tamper with the product in other ways. There
will be a tendency by some to reduce the weight, capacity and
volume of the product and also employ other devious ways to
ensure profits are not affected, which will negate the
Minister's good intentions.
Therefore it is equally important to ensure that the consumer
is not cheated in other ways and receive value for money. There
is also a need to ensure quality of the product on display.
Today there are many products in the open market that are of
dubious quality but are marketed successfully through the use of
ingenious methods. One wonders whether some of these products
are even subject to the scrutiny of the responsible authorities
and are subjected to standardization.
It was only the other day that the media highlighted the
story of how a schoolboy died of food poisoning after consuming
a soft drink while the mother who too partook of the same was
admitted to hospital in a serious condition. Earlier too there
were many instances of people falling ill after consuming some
grandly advertised product. Therefore not stopping at pricing,
the Minister should also go into the quality aspect of the item
particularly where it concerns food and drink. It has been found
that today the various food items and drinks that are on display
at even posh supermarkets are of questionable quality and of
little nutritional value and in fact harmful to health contrary
what is being advertised on the packages, labels and on TV which
is being exploited by multinational food chains to foist their
products on the unsuspecting public. Recent researches have even
concluded that there are cancerous substances in the colour
agents used to manufacture certain drinks.
The Minister therefore should extend his mission to protect
the consumer from blackmarketeers to ensure people are not
affected health wise through being lured into going for dubious
food and drink items tantalizing arrayed on the shelves of our
super markets. He should insist that all products be subjected
to proper standardization and punish those who fail to adhere to
these guidelines. Today with a burgeoning fast food industry and
advertising gimmicks there is a likelihood of consumers being
lured more into unhealthy eating habits that has already taken a
heavy toll in the form of diseases related to obesity such as
diabetes, blood pressure, cardiac arrest etc costing money to
the State. Therefore a check should be done on this aspect of
advertising too in the interest of the public.