Steep biltong prices weigh heavily on consumers and it's illegal

Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler recently published an investigative piece in the Sunday Times about biltong retailers in Kwazulu Natal who fail to display consumer prices and charge a purely estimated price of up to R400 per kilogram.

When the Sunday Times asked an attendant at a biltong kiosk at the Engen One Stop in Cato Ridge for the (undisplayed) price of the biltong per kilo, she said: “About R250.” But the scale revealed the price of sliced beef biltong to be a hefty R390 per kilo.

Kieno Kammies spoke to Knowler and the National Consumer Commission's Trevor Hatting about why this is illegal.

I had people check it out in Gauteng and in the Cape for me, and its the same, a few really do display prices. I am not talking about the pre-packed biltong but the 'you buy as you go' type of thing.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

As a consumer you don't know how the price in one retailer compares to a competitor and you don't know when they put their price up, so you just get a few less pieces in your bag and the act is supposed to stop that from happening.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

One women who worked at one of them said, 'oh no our boss says we can't because people will be put off by the price and they will say it's cheaper at Pick n Pay'. I went into Pick n Pay and they did't display it either.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

Hatting says they will be placing more emphasis on the issue in future inspections.

I must say it could have been something that slipped through and that we were mostly looking at your boxed things, perishable items, meat and so on. So it could be that this did slip through under our eye as well.

Trevor Hatting, spokesperson at the National Consumer Commission

She [Wendy] is right when she says in terms of the consumers right to information. The price has to be there and the description has to be there.

Trevor Hatting, spokesperson at the National Consumer Commission

Click on the link below to listen to the full interview....

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