Govt fails to halt price gouging at Durbar Marg

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 24, 2017-

Despite the huge public uproar when government officials sealed stores in Durbar Marg and charged them with charging exorbitant prices, retail stores are still continuing to charge excessive prices on their products.

These stalls expect the public to have their heads in the sand, like nothing happened. While the government’s initiative to monitor the market was a good step, the government has failed to take prompt action against the traders involved in misconduct.

In the latest development in the ongoing saga of the Department of Supplies Management (DoSM) versus retail stores in Durbar Marg, another four shops have been accused of charging exorbitant prices on their products.

The DoSM market monitoring team have booked four shops (Sports Plaza, Bina Fashion House and Option Store—the fourth store is unnamed). These stores sell products from brands such as Zodiac, Zara, New Balance and Ray Ban. They have been found to over-price products by over two-fold. 

While the discovery of more shops in Durbar Marg charging exorbitant prices comes as no surprise, what is surprising is the fact that the DoSM seems reluctant to seal these stores.

DoSM Director General Kumar Prasad Dahal said the market monitoring team on Sunday, discovered that the Zodiac brand store in Durbar Marg was taking over 50 percent profit on products. 

According to him, the market inspection conducted on Monday found another three stores charging almost double of their products’ cost price. 

“We have collected the necessary papers and the samples from the stores for further investigation,” Dahal said.

These traders in Durbar Marg are earning over 50 percent profit on each product they sell to unsuspecting customers. This is in clear violation of The Black Marketing and Some Other Social Offences and Punishment Act, which limits the amount of profit that a trader can earn to 20 percent of its cost price.

Although a number of retail outlets in Durbar Marg have been found charging exorbitant prices on products, the concerned authority with its failure to take any effective actions against unscrupulous traders has led to an increase in such malpractices.

Just last month, the  DoSM raided branded retail stores in the premium shopping location of the Valley, Durbar Marg. The outlets include stores selling products of international brands like Nike, Reebok, Puma, Bentley and Levi’s among others. These stores were found charging up to 2,300 percent of their cost price on the goods they were selling. 

The department had handed over documents of 14 traders based in Durbar Marg and New Road among others to the Metropolitan Police Range, Teku, recommending filing cases under black-marketing. However, the police has been delaying further scrutiny to these stores. 

Traders and experts blame the cause of under invoicing and high operating costs for the large difference between the cost price and sale price of the branded products. Dahal sought the need for implementing stricter policies at customs points to control the growing cases of black-marketing. “There is a need for coordination among the government bodies including the tax authority to safeguard the interest of consumers,” Dahal added.

Published: 24-10-2017 08:54

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