The Facua Consumers Association has denounced eight distribution chains before the National Market and Competition Commission (CNMC) for not passing on VAT reductions to all foods affected by the measure, which began on January 1.
The association explains that it reviewed the evolution of 676 prices in chains such as Alcampo, Aldi, Carrefour, Dia, Eroski, Lidl, Hipercor and Mercadona. Analyzes were conducted on December 30 and January 3. In them, it was determined that in 52 cases, the price reduction equivalent to the VAT reduction was not observed. Thus, 34 prices are identical at the end of the year, 11 were not affected by the overall tax reduction and seven are even higher, he lists.
Facua analyzes that the percentage of violations varies between 1% for Mercadona and Hipercor and 17% for Dia; followed by 10% of Carrefour. “But now it remains to be verified that there will be no more price increases in the months when the tax cuts are in effect,” he says.
In fact, the government has indicated in recent weeks that consumers will feel the drop in prices throughout the month of January, after the Christmas holidays.
Faqua points out that establishments cannot increase the prices of food affected by the VAT drop until at least the end of April, a period that will extend for another two months if the basic VAT is not below 5.5% in March. Only justified increases in cost will be legal, he says.
Prices that freeze
Regarding the revealed violations, the consumer organization points out that in most cases, they include the same amount of charging to the consumer as before the reduction of VAT, with which all this is allocated to increase the profit margin of the institution.
“There are also products in which the selling price to the public is higher than in the days before the measure came into effect. Also, there are cases where the cuts are less than what should be done if the tax cuts are fully delayed,” he was quoted as saying. Among them, it claims that it is a malpractice to add one cent to rounding, when in fact they should be rounded.
The highest number of anomalies was observed in dia, with 14 violations in 81 prices compared to nine cases due to rounding. Carrefour is in second place, where out of 113 analyzed prices, VAT reduction was not applied in 11 cases. Continuing, Eroski scored eight incorrect prices for a total of 92. In Alcampo, six prices out of 96 were analyzed in violation, in two cases due to rounding. At Lidl, six prices were also found to be higher than they should be, with a reduction in VAT on a total of 70 comparable products,” Facua wrote.
On the other hand, Aldi indicates five cases out of 64 evaluated. At Hipercor “only one inflated price out of 76 products monitored”. And Mercadona “also found one violation in 84 foods where the price at the end of December is compared to the current one,” the statement said.
In its complaints, Facua asks the CNMC to investigate the practice and initiate appropriate disciplinary proceedings to determine whether the prices used are an increase in the business’s profit margin, or are justified by an increase in the cost of products where they are not affected. .
Source: El Diario