Crackdowns on the illegal practice of retail shops in cinemas selling food and beverages at exponential prices will start from today, the Consumer Affairs Authority said yesterday.
“I will be sending compliance and enforcement officers starting from tomorrow,” the Consumer Affairs Authority Director General A. K. D. D. D. Arandara said yesterday, in response to a question raised by Mirror Business.
He noted that the maximum retail price of a product can only be increased if there is value addition, and that even in such a case, the prices must be displayed on a board or a price list. Except for a very limited number of items such as hot dogs, or freshly popped corn for which cinema retail shops can set their own prices legally, they charge 2-4 times premium on food and beverages from products available in retail and wholesale shops elsewhere.
This is because they enjoy a captive market, where food and beverages purchased elsewhere cannot be brought into the cinema. The practice is common at mid to high range cinemas, a market which has
A group which has a supermarket and a cinema in one popular entertainment centre in Colombo, sells food and beverages for the legal price at its supermarket on the ground floor, and the prices of the same products are increased by hundreds of rupees when transported to the upper floors on an elevator.
“No. They cannot increase prices like that. We will start action soon. I guarantee,” Arandara said.
These retailers don’t provide a receipt either, which along with the implementation of the maximum retail prices are stipulated in the Consumer Affairs Authority Act No. 9 of 2003. (CW)