Re­tail op­er­a­tors short-chang­ing con­sumers: CCZ

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - “Su­per­mar­kets have taken ad­van­tage of the use of plas­tic money to in­crease the prices of ba­sic com­modi­ties in small amounts such as 1c, 2c, 3c to 40c and con­sumers are not able to no­tice be­cause in re­turn they with­draw cash from these su­per­mar­kets” Bianca

RE­TAIL op­er­a­tors are tak­ing ad­van­tage of the use of plas­tic money to short-change un­sus­pect­ing cus­tomers by in­creas­ing prices of ba­sic goods and com­modi­ties on elec­tronic trans­ac­tions, the Con­sumer Coun­cil of Zim­babwe (CCZ) has said.

The con­sumer watch­dog has warned that such mar­ginal in­creases of prices by su­per­mar­kets, es­pe­cially, have led to a mar­ginal in­crease in the cost of liv­ing.

In its lat­est bi-monthly sur­vey, CCZ said the cost of liv­ing had in­creased from the end of Au­gust fig­ure of $570,87 to $572,78 by end of Septem­ber 2016, show­ing an in­crease of $1,91(or 0,33per­cent).

“There are var­i­ous is­sues that may have caused the price in­crease of some prod­ucts. These are the fluc­tu­a­tion of the fuel price and the ap­proach of the fes­tive sea­son,” said CCZ.

“Su­per­mar­kets have taken ad­van­tage of the use of plas­tic money to in­crease the prices of ba­sic com­modi­ties in small amounts such as 1c, 2c, 3c to 40c and con­sumers are not able to no­tice be­cause in re­turn they with­draw cash from these su­per­mar­kets.”

In a snap sur­vey, Busi­ness Chronicle also ob­served that most su­per­mar­kets have lim­ited or to­tally stopped giv­ing out cash-back to con­sumers, cit­ing cash con­straints.

A till op­er­a­tor at a Bu­l­awayo su­per­mar­ket, who can­not be named for pro­fes­sional rea­sons, said their abil­ity to give out cash-back was hinged on the vol­ume of cash trans­ac­tions per­formed.

“Since the ac­cel­er­ated use of plas­tic money, we have recorded a de­crease in cash trans­ac­tions, and so some­times a till op­er­a­tor can have as lit­tle as $100 in their till from that day’s cash trans­ac­tions,” said the till op­er­a­tor.

More peo­ple are in­creas­ingly us­ing plas­tic money in the wake of bit­ing cash short­ages in the econ­omy.

With banks lim­it­ing daily cash with­drawal lim­its to about $50, more de­pos­i­tors are spend­ing days in queues and can only make trans­ac­tions elec­tron­i­cally.

The cost of liv­ing (as mea­sured by CCZ) has been steadily in­creas­ing over the course of this year. The con­sumer watch­dog noted that in Jan­uary the cost of liv­ing stood at $557,58 for a fam­ily of six but jumped to $560,10 in Fe­bru­ary.

In March the fig­ure rose to $561,06 and in­creased fur­ther to $563,82 in April be­fore set­tling at $567,48 in May.

For the month of June the fig­ure stood at $567,38, record­ing a $0,10 de­crease and rose by $0,53 in July. The fig­ure shot to $571,14 in Au­gust. - @Bian­caMlilo

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