Buy any household appliance or item from town, and there will be a good chance that it is either a duplicate item or is of poor quality.
A close look at most buildings in Thimphu will also reveal a bounty of poor quality or fake electrical parts and switches, often lasting a few weeks or months.
Car workshops in Thimphu also have vehicle parts of varying quality, including brake pads that do not work well once the tyre temperature goes up.
Very often, buyers have little or no idea that the goods they are buying are either fake or not of good quality. Most times, it is frustrating to have the goods malfunction, while sometimes it can have fatal consequences.
It is not just pesticide chillies that Bhutan has to watch out for but also all manner of consumer goods that come into the country often from dubious companies.
While Bhutan does have the SQCA to monitor the quality of items, it and agencies like the Trade department, Office of Consumer Protection among others should also take a more proactive approach in finding out the extent of this problem and regulating it.
If unethical exporters from outside Bhutan find that the monitoring and regulatory mechanism is lax in Bhutan then we will become the dumping ground for such goods.
While some shopkeepers may argue that the price of such items are lower, what they fail to reveal is the large profit margins that they also make. They also fail to reveal that the labels are very misleading and on many occasions’ people pay high amounts for an original product only to get a substandard one.
Such low quality goods have an enormous effect not only on households but also the larger economy including government projects.
It is high time that both Bhutanese consumers and the relevant agencies wake up to this mounting problem.
‘So little done, so much to do’