SAMOA CONSUMER PROTESTS ‘RIP OFF’ PRICES

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Suggests citizens cooperative to avoid overpriced goods

By Alan Ah Mu APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Dec. 27, 2009) – When in Australia, Joe Baukes saw a can of tomato sauce for AU$2.85 [US$2.52].

At today’s rate that comes to 6.34 tala [US$2.52].

Mr. Baukes saw the same product sold at a supermarket in Samoa for 16.80 tala [US$6.66].

"I said to my wife, have a look at that one," he said. "I reckon it’s outrageous," said the Ululoloa resident, who visits overseas regularly. It’s exploitation. Every business has a right to make a profit, but excessive profit shouldn’t be allowed."

The retired engineer sees vast differences in prices for coffee, sugar, tinned fish, cereals and other goods which to him can’t be explained by freight and other import costs.

Consumers should join and form co-operatives to buy goods in bulk to escape the rip off prices they pay, he said.

"It is time for Samoans to wake up and start importing your own goods. Remember exports from overseas carries no VGST (goods tax)."

This tax is imposed only when goods land here and importers add it to the prices of their goods.

Mr. Baukes said "the massive saving" that can be made from direct and bulk purchasing.

A Board of Weight Measurement should also be established by government, he said.

"Every country has one."

Such a board can send out staff to make spot checks on how shops are using weight to base their prices on.

"Not every Samoan has a kitchen scale."

One system of measurement should also be adopted, said Mr. Baukes.

In Samoa, both the metric and imperial measurements are used, he said.

This creates confusion within the expatriate community in particular, he said.

"It’s very important and it stops the confusion of the people.

"You go to Lynn’s she’s selling happily in the pound.

"And you go to Farmer Joe’s, he sells some in kgs and some in pounds. What’s going on? We should have one system in place then everyone is asked to comply."

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