Office of Consumer Protection

OCP: 170 complaints recorded in 3 weeks

Market Price Index released for all Dzongkhags

The Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) has been busy since the COVID-19 situation has led to shops hoarding or charging unreasonable prices on goods and services taking situational advantage.

So far, the Department has been carrying out market surveillance and monitoring to ensure that business entities are engaged in fair trading and avoid exploitation of consumers.

As per the report shared by Jigme Dorji, Chief Program Office, OCP, a total of 170 complaints were recorded in the last three weeks and reportedly OCP are addressing the issues accordingly.

To intensify the surveillance and monitoring activities and expand the reach, the office,

leveraging on other departments in the Ministry, has formed teams to constantly carry out

market surveillance and monitoring in various locations and is also continuing to educate business entities on the consequences of unethical trade practices.

Similarly, the office has also directed the Regional Trade and Industry Offices in the six regions to form teams in collaboration with the Dzongkhag, Dungkhag and Gewog administrations to continue carrying out market surveillance in their respective markets.

He shared that the Office has collected the Market Price Information (MPI) of essential commodities in the markets from thromdes and all Dzongkhags which can be found on the MoEA website as well in the official Facebook page of the Ministry.

A notification was released on the website to serve as a price reference and a yardstick to compare and take appropriate actions in case of price manipulation.

“This is being done to provide price information to the consumers for informed purchase decisions and avoid price discrimination by the business entities” he added.

MoEA Minister Lyonpo Loknath yesterday said that the prices of essential items are in control and the OCP has been keeping tabs on this. However, he said, “in case of vegetables, it is a different matter, we cannot put a price tag on such items”.

According to the report, the OCP team has advised business entities to refrain from engaging in hoarding of commodities to create artificial scarcity in the market, unfairly closing shops, denying sale to the consumers, price rigging, collusion and manipulation by a group of business entities and also sensitized on any other unfair and unethical trade practices.

Sonam Tenzin, Director, Department of Consumer Protection said, “Our team is not just monitoring the false practices but is also carrying out the market survey alongside with the task”.

Further, the business entities have been sensitized on the legal requirement to affix price tags on goods displayed for sale and issue money receipts upon sale of goods and services. These are mainly to curtail price discretion and ensure that they do not engage in price manipulation and exploitation. A toll-free number 1214 is being operated for the purpose of protecting economic interest and health safety of the consumers by the OCP.

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