Print Edition - 2015-05-30 | MONEY
Hardware stores found overcharging customers
May 29, 2015-
The demand for construction tools is growing amid rehabilitation programmes carried out by the government and social organisations targeting earthquake victims.
According to the Department of Commerce and Supply Management (DoCSM), a number of stores selling mainly handsaws and hammers have been found taking undue advantage of the situation. DoSCM Director General Hari Narayan Belbase said the department, based on growing complaints, has started cross-checking.
On Tuesday, the department grilled two hardware stores -- Gautam Overseas and Mahashakti Machinery and Hand-tools of Teku -- for charging customers higher prices. Gautam Overseas was found charging Rs 275 for a hand saw that actually cost Rs 120,while Mahashakti was selling a claw hammer at Rs 450, while the maximum retail price is Rs 250.
The DoCSM has summoned the shopkeepers with purchase invoice and other necessary documents.
Belbase said they would recommend the police to take action against the stores under the Black-marketing and Some Other Social Offenses and Punishment Act 1975 if they are unable furnish clarification.
As per the act, shopkeepers selling the products with more than 20 percent profit margin are charged under the black-marketing. The act has provisioned jail term of maximum five years or cash penalty or both to the offenders.
Belbase said they were also planning to cross-check wholesalers, besides boosting monitoring of retail shops.
Meanwhile, the DoCSM handed over 10 shopkeepers to the police on charge of black-marketing since the Great Earthquake of April 25 through May 26.
Most of the cases were related to overcharging customers for zinc sheets, tarpaulin, insulating cushion (mat), medicines and edibles.
During the period, the department also sealed five shops for their involvement in different types of anomalies.
Published: 30-05-2015 08:00