Shops hike prices to avoid giving change in coins


Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — A number of shops have increased prices to avoid paying consumers change in coins (halalas) after the calculation of value added tax (VAT), according to Makkah Arabic daily on Sunday.

The Consumer Protection Society (CPS) described the increase in prices as unjustified and called for reporting such shops to the Ministry of Commerce and Investment.

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has said many times on its Twitter account that enough quantities of coins have been distributed in the market and these are also available in all banks.

SAMA asked shop owners to sue the banks if they refuse to give them the coins they demand.

A well-known bakery in Makkah, which used to sell pastries for SR1.5 per piece, raised the price to SR1.9 so that when VAT is calculated, the consumer will pay SR2 without expecting to receive any change.

A fast food restaurant added 40 halalas to the price of its meal to make it SR12.4 instead of SR12 so that customers will pay SR13 for the meal after VAT is added.

Some popular restaurants list their prices before and after VAT so that clients will not expect to receive any change in coins.

One of them listed its price before VAT as SR17.15 and after VAT SR18.

A shop owner said shops fixed round figures for the price of its consumer items to avoid giving change in coins, which are not always available.

Saud Al-Askar, an executive member of the Consumer Protection Society, urged consumers to inform the Ministry of Commerce and Investment about any price increase.