Economy Ministry finds irregularities in Black Friday deals at 10 Costa Rican businesses

December 3, 2013

The Economy Ministry’s (MEIC) office of Consumer Protection found 10 irregularities in promotions and prices last Friday when many local businesses offered deals to join the “Black Friday” trend.

MEIC officials conducted inspections at 48 businesses and detected seven anomalies that were resolved immediately, while another three were sent to higher ministry departments due to the gravity of the alleged misconduct.

Most of the complaints involved misleading pricing, applying smaller discounts than advertised or different discounts for cash or credit payments, and a lack of accurate information on the conditions of sales prices.

Consumer Protection Office Director Cinthya Zapata said officials are pleased with the results of the inspections, as “they forced businesses to comply with current rules and regulations.”

Zapata also noted a decrease in cases of false advertising compared to previous years. In the past, some businesses had offered discounts on merchandise but had very few of the products in stock.

The ministry’s hotline, 800-CONSUMO, received 94 complaints on Friday, but only two were related to false advertising and hidden restrictions.

MEIC conducted inspections in malls, stores and other businesses in San José, Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago.

Businesses found guilty could face fines ranging from ₡2.3-₡9.3 million ($4,600-$18,600).

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