Ven­dors bilk mourn­ers, raise black clothes prices

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

A RAN­DOM in­spec­tion found over 100 ven­dors in Bangkok have marked up the prices of black clothes dur­ing the mourn­ing pe­riod for the pass­ing of King Bhu­mi­bol Adulyadej, Depart­ment of In­ter­nal Trade (DIT) di­rec­tor gen­eral Nuntawan Sakun­tanaga said on Oc­to­ber 24.

The in­spec­tion was con­ducted af­ter the depart­ment re­ceived a num­ber of com­plaints about black cloth­ing be­ing sold at high prices.

Ms Nuntawan said the in­spec­tion found more than 100 clothes ven­dors were ex­ploit­ing the sit­u­a­tion by sell­ing black cloth­ing at more than twice their price, par­tic­u­larly T-shirts with prices jump­ing from around 200 baht (US$8) to 500 baht ($19) each, over the past 10 days.

She said most of the items also did not have price tags, which is stip­u­lated by law.

Ms Nuntawan said warn­ings have been is­sued to the ven­dors. If they con­tinue to fail to com­ply with laws and reg­u­la­tions, le­gal ac­tion would be brought against them.

Con­sumers who come across over­priced black cloth­ing may file com­plaints with the DIT, she added.

Af­ter a re­cent surge in such com­plaints, the depart­ment also de­ployed more staff to con­duct in­spec­tions in sev­eral prov­inces, she added.

Mean­while, com­merce per­ma­nent sec­re­tary Wi­boon­lasana Ruam­raksa yes­ter­day said she in­structed the DIT to con­duct a ran­dom in­spec­tion at Chatuchak Mar­ket in Bangkok on Sun­day. Ac­cord­ing to the in­spec­tion, out of 1200 clothes vend­ing stalls, 19 were fined for al­legedly fail­ing to pro­vide price tags.

She said prices of black and white clothes at the mar­ket would vary ac­cord­ing to the qual­ity of the fab­ric. Reg­u­lar T-shirts should be sold at 60-150 baht each, while con­sumers can ex­pect to pay 179-280 baht each for polo shirts and 199-300 baht each for long-sleeved T-shirts, Ms Wi­boon­lasana said. The min­istry has also asked for co­op­er­a­tion from the State Rail­way of Thai­land (SRT), which rents out land plots to ven­dors at the mar­ket, to help com­mu­ni­cate warn­ings to shop­pers, she said.

As for a mourn­ing event for the late king jointly or­gan­ised by the DIT and clothes man­u­fac­tur­ers to give away black clothes to peo­ple nationwide, Ms Wi­boon­lasana said the pri­vate sec­tor can’t yet pro­duce enough black cloth­ing to meet de­mand.

How­ever, the prob­lem should ease in a few days as many prod­ucts are ex­pected to ar­rive next week, she said.

The depart­ment also worked with Tesco Lo­tus to give away 55,000 black T-shirts at its 109 branches across the coun­try. Tesco Lo­tus cor­po­rate af­fairs di­rec­tor Salinla See­haphan yes­ter­day said the event was first launched yes­ter­day at nine branches in Bangkok.

The project will be ex­panded to 40 branches in other prov­inces on Novem­ber 4 and then to 60 more branches on Novem­ber 11, Ms Salinla said.

Many shop­pers waited in line at Tesco Lo­tus’ Rama IV branch to re­ceive a free T-shirt. Queue cards had to be dis­trib­uted be­cause too many peo­ple showed up.

Photo: AFP

A crowd of mourn­ers wears black in Thai­land, where ven­dors are up­charg­ing those seek­ing black T-shirts.

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