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Receipt dispute surfaces

By Taina Kami Enoka

The Ministry of Labour, Commerce and Industry (MCIL) has defended the differences in receipts available in Samoa’s supermarkets. There are two types. One is where receipts itemize purchased goods and the other, which categorizes the items as DEPT1, DEPT2 and so on.

The difference was raised by a frustrated customer who lodged a complaint with the Ministry of Commerce last year about receipts supplied by Allan Supermarket at Lalovaea.
In July 2011, Filipo Strickland, of Lalovaea, was running a catering company while his brother was away.

The groceries bought at Allan Supermarket were accompanied with a receipt that did not itemize the goods.
Instead they were itemized as “floor” and “fridge”.

In other words, goods that were taken from the fridge were listed as fridge and those taken from the grocery shelves, floor.
Last month, Mr Strickland went shopping at Allan Supermarket again, only to find that the receipts were still not itemized.

Receipt dispute surfaces Instead, the receipt from Allan Supermarket listed the purchased items as “Dept”.  Frustrated, he wrote to MCIL’s Mr Roger Toleafoa and copied to Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Unasa Iulia Petelo.  The Samoa Observer was also copied although that letter was not sent.

When the Samoa Observer visited Allan Supermarket last week, we found that two tills were producing itemized receipts. Another till, as explained by MCIL, is still being ordered. Last week, Samoa Observer also visited several other supermarkets to find that till receipts were as Mr Strickland had described.

Instead of itemizing, products were listed as Dept01 and so on. “[MCIL] are the police when it comes to such problems. It’s not fair to us the public. It’s not fair to th

e other businesses like Farmer Joe’s, Chan Mow and Nettie’s. They have everything itemized,” he said.

But on contacting Unasa, she says that there was no difference in the receipts, whether they were individually itemized or listed as DEPT01 and so on.
“The law says that traders shall on demand, issue the purchaser a receipt.”

Unasa confirmed receiving Mr Strickland’s complaint last year  “A warning and clear instructions were issued to the company to comply with the law and regular follow-ups were carried out by MCIL to ensure that proper cash tills were in place.

Even the owner was summoned by the MCIL to ensure that written instructions were followed to the letter.
“I can assure you that every effort had been made by the company to comply.”

Unasa showed copies of receipts from November 2011 and January 2012 from a till at Allan Supermarket. She said the company is awaiting an order for another till. Evidence was also provided to show this. “The company was also instructed to issue manual receipts in the interim whilst awaiting law compliant tills.”

A sign to this effect is in front of the cash register location at Allan Supermarket.
As for any problems with other supermarkets, MCIL is not aware, she says as no other complaints have been filed regarding this matter.

If there are, the same process will be pursued.
“You would appreciate that we are only a small army making every effort to act as efficiently as possible to effectively deal with and respond to all consumer complaints.”

She emphasized that they operate on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis.
“[Mr Toleafoa’s] regular verbal communication with the complainant suffices to say the Ministry has done and is still doing its services to all consumers.”

Meanwhile, a copy of the Consumers Rights on the MCIL website lists the Right to Information as number three.
“To be given the facts needed to make an informed choice and to be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising and labeling.”

And section 8, “To acquire knowledge and skills needed to make informed, confident choices about goods and services, while being aware of basic consumer rights and responsibilities and how to act on them.”

 

 

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