Ensuring competition while safeguarding consumer rights in Monggar and Lhuentse
In a proactive move to safeguard consumer rights and ensure compliance with regulatory standards, the Competition & Consumer Affairs Authority (CCAA) recently conducted a thorough 13-day surveillance of businesses in the major marketplaces of Monggar and Lhuentse Dzongkhags.
From the surveillance it is found that the 95.2% of all business firms were found to issue pre-printed cash memos or purchase receipts upon consumer demand, indicating a commitment to transparency in transactions.
However, among the 98 grocery shops surveyed, 12.2% fell short of meeting the minimum product labeling requirements. The issue was notably prevalent among locally produced and packaged food products.
A commendable 90.4% of businesses displayed the prices of goods and services, contributing to a transparent and informed consumer environment.
Alarmingly, processed food products past their expiration date were discovered in over 28 groceries, leading to concerns over consumer safety.
During the surveillance, 65 uncalibrated or expired calibration validity weighing balances were identified in 95 business entities and subsequently verified and calibrated.
Four fully functional fuel dispensing pumps at Petroleum Retail Outlets (PRO) were checked, with 14 nozzles found to be accurate. One high-speed diesel (HSD) pump in Monggar was sent for maintenance to India.
The density of Motor Spirit (MS) and HSD at all four PROs was within permissible range, and water content in storage tanks was below the maximum acceptable limits. While the 5L measuring jars at certain PROs were calibrated, hydrometers, thermometers, and measuring cylinders were not, indicating the need for corrective measures.
On a positive note, all PROs were equipped with fire extinguishers within their expiration dates, ensuring safety compliance.
All PROs have installed calibrated weighing balances to accurately weigh LPG cylinders. In response to the findings, the CCAA has taken several measures to address compliance issues.
All businesses have been educated on the requirements outlined in the Consumer Protection Act and Rules and Regulations, along with their roles and obligations to consumers. Businesses found in violation of selling goods beyond expiration dates were fined in accordance with the law, and expirq4ed products have been seized by the Bhutan Food and Drug Authority (BFDA).
The comprehensive market surveillance underscores the commitment of regulatory authorities to protect consumers and maintain fair business practices. The collaborative efforts of the CCAA, BFDA, and RoICE are crucial in fostering a marketplace that prioritizes consumer welfare and upholds the highest standards of compliance.
A total of 229 business entities were covered by the surveillance that commenced on January 15, 2024, which was executed in collaboration with officials from the BFDA and the Regional Office of Industry, Commerce, and Employment (RoICE), Monggar.
Dechen Choden from Mongar