…20 𝒃𝒖𝒔𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝒇𝒊𝒓𝒎𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒊𝒏 𝒗𝒊𝒐𝒍𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒐𝒇 𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒈𝒐𝒐𝒅𝒔 𝒃𝒆𝒚𝒐𝒏𝒅 𝒆𝒙𝒑𝒊𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒅𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒔 𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒇𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒅 𝒂 𝒕𝒐𝒕𝒂𝒍 𝒐𝒇 𝑵𝒖. 63,634 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒔𝒆𝒊𝒛𝒆𝒅 𝒃𝒚 𝑩𝑭𝑫𝑨
By Phurpa Wangmo
The Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (CCAA) with the help of Bhutan Food and Drug Authority (BFDA), Samtse Dzongkhag, and Bhutan Standards Bureau (BSB) conducted an extensive market surveillance operation spanning over 13 days starting from October 24, 2023 in the Samtse Dzongkhag.
The primary objective of the inspection was to ensure that business firms comply with the market standards as per the Consumer Protection Act, (2012) and CPRR (2015) for the protection and benefit of consumers.
Covering a comprehensive range of 159 business entities across prominent towns in Samtse Dzongkhag, including Tendruk, Tashicholing, Samtse Town, Dophuchen, and Gomtu, the operation unearthed critical findings regarding market practices and regulatory adherence.
A concerning revelation surfaced during the survey, indicating that only 64.4 percent of the evaluated businesses issued pre-printed cash memos or purchase receipts upon consumer request. Further exacerbating the issue, a meager 45% of the firms were found to display the prices of their products or services. However, amidst these concerning findings, a positive discovery highlighted that 91% of the 77 entities employing weighing or measuring devices at the retail level demonstrated accurately calibrated weighing balances, a reassuring testament to their commitment to fair trade practices.
Despite these encouraging results, the investigation exposed major discrepancies in various sectors. Additionally, 11 out of 91 weighing balances were deemed unsuitable for commercial purposes, failing to meet the technical standards set by the BSB. Additionally, the operation revealed multiple instances of expired products, including biscuits, soft drinks, chips, and seaweeds, within approximately 20 business establishments.
The scrutiny extended to the inspection of Petrol Retail Outlets (PROs), revealing operational irregularities within the establishments. Although the density of Motor Spirit (MS) and High-Speed Diesel (HSD) within all seven PROs fell within the permissible range, several fuel dispensing nozzles were found to be dispensing fuel outside the acceptable margin of 0.5%. Moreover, the investigation brought to light various operational shortcomings, such as the absence of calibrated measuring devices and deteriorating consumer safety boards within specific outlets.
In response to the findings, a series of corrective actions were swiftly implemented. The Petrol Retail Outlets (PROs) were immediately instructed to rectify any fuel volume discrepancies, while BSB swiftly recalibrated 79 weighing devices on-site.
Moreover, 20 businesses found guilty of selling expired products were collectively fined Nu. 63,634, with the confiscated products seized by the BFDA. Additionally, specific PROs received directives to address operational deficiencies, including the replacement of consumer safety boards, expired fire extinguishers, and the initiation of measures to return expired LPG cylinders to the supplier.