TALLINN - According to official statistics, in August 43 percent of the inspected companies in Estonia did not follow the requirement of showing prices in two currencies. From July 1 to June 30, 2011, the prices of goods and services offered to the customer have to be presented both in kroons as well as in euros.
Before the adoption of the euro, on Jan. 1 next year, euro prices have an informative meaning. Intensive checking of the obligation to show prices in two currencies continued also in August. Whereas during the month the obligation took effect - July - 764 companies were inspected, in August the number was 728.
Out of these 728 companies, 314 companies did not adhere to the obligation of showing prices in two currencies. The most significant mistake was that prices in euros had not been presented at all – this violation was identified in 171 cases, or 58 percent. The prices were approximated incorrectly in 80 cases and the prices had been calculated by using the wrong currency exchange rate in 44 cases.
The General Director of the Consumer Protection Board Andres Sooniste says, “Compared to the previous month, the statistics show a decrease in the number of violations, primarily among inspections carried out during the recent weeks.” Sooniste explained. “Taking into consideration that the obligation to show prices in two currencies had been valid for a month, by the beginning of August, we can say that some of the businesses do not have a very serious or responsible attitude to the above-mentioned requirement.”
In connection with this, in August stricter measures for punishing companies with violations had been imposed – penalties were established in 63 cases in the amount of 49,940 kroons (3,200 euros). At the beginning of every week, the Consumer Protection Board publishes on its home page a selective list of the companies ignoring the obligation to show prices in two currencies.
At the end of August, the Fair Pricing Agreement came into effect, the main purpose of which is to slow down the possible increase in prices that could occur with the adoption of the euro. Joining the agreement is voluntary, but the companies who have signed this agreement shall follow the obligations arising from this agreement. The companies who have joined this agreement are easily recognized due to the corresponding stickers which are in a visible place for the customer (e.g on doors, etc). The Consumer Protection Board invites consumers to buy goods and services from the companies who have joined this agreement, and thus fight any groundless price increases.