JIS News

Director of Research at the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC), Hugh Taylor, has said that there was no evidence of widespread price gouging on the part of textbook retailers.
Mr. Taylor, who was addressing a press conference held recently at the agency’s headquarters in Kingston, to reveal the results of a textbook survey, said that while the general cost of books had increased, this was due largely “to certain economic factors outside the control of the retailers”.
“The results of the survey generally reveal varying levels of changes in prices when compared with last year, mostly impacted by the depreciation of the local currency and other inflationary factors on the sector.such as energy cost and labour cost,” he stated.
The detailed islandwide price observations, he noted further, “indicate wide-ranging maximum minimum price variations and also a wide range of changes from 2005 to 2006, which suggest that the discerning consumer must shop around for reasonable prices subject to regional availability”.
Mr. Taylor reasoned that the wide variations found in the prices of books may be due to some retailers having new stock prices as opposed to others having prices from the previous season.
The survey also revealed that the Kingston metropolitan area had the widest availability of books.
Meanwhile, Communication and Research Officer at the CAC, Raquel Chambers, noted that the price and availability of books varied by parish and advised that consumers “call us, depending on what area they are in and we will be able to tell them. We have a listing, a break down by parish for example, where they will find a particular book at the best price and if it is available in most of the book stores in their area or just one.”
The CAC carried out an islandwide textbook survey from July 31 to August 4 to gather data on the price and availability of texts to allow consumers to make informed choices.
The data, which was collected from 68 outlets, lists the retail prices for over 95 books in 17 core subjects. Persons can view the results of the survey online at www.consumeraffairsjamaica.gov.jm.

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