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PRICE MARKING/DISPLAY AND ISSUING OF INVOICES/RECEIPTS

Fiji Commerce Commission (“FCC”) is an independent government statutory body established under Section 7 of the Commerce Commission Decree 2010. Its function is to ensure the integrated framework for the
22 Feb 2016 12:00
PRICE MARKING/DISPLAY AND ISSUING OF INVOICES/RECEIPTS
Receipts

Fiji Commerce Commission (“FCC”) is an independent government statutory body established under Section 7 of the Commerce Commission Decree 2010. Its function is to ensure the integrated framework for the regulation of monopoly market structures; encourage competition, prevent restrictive trade practices, ensure consumer protection, and undertake pricing of public utilities and other price controlled items. The Commission principle agency for all competition and consumer protection issues enforcement in Fiji. Let’s begin this week by looking at Price Marking.

 

What is Price Marking?

Price marking means that the prices are to be marked individually on the products. That is every single unit must have the prices marked on the product. For example, if the law requires prices to be marked on Tin Fish and a retailer has 20 tins of fish on the shelf, then the retailer must ensure that all these tins of fish have the prices clearly marked on the tins. The price marked must include VAT and all other taxes.

 

What is Price Display?

Price display under CCD 2010 means that a price ticket or notice near the goods (e.g. on the edge of the shelf or the door of a fridge) or grouped together with other prices (e.g. in a list or catalogue) must be displayed for the information of the consumers. In this case, the prices may not be marked individually on the product.  For example, if the law requires that prices for the non-price control items such as washing powder be displayed, and the trader has 10 packets of the washing powder on the shelve, then the trader must clearly display the price on the edge of the shelve (in front of the product). The price for the product must be inclusive of VAT and any other taxes.

The following minimum information must be clearly displayed:

rProduct name – e.g. Nature Valley washing powder;

r Quantity – e.g. 500 grams

r Price – inclusive of VAT and all taxes.

 

 

What about Window/Showroom Displays?

SCCD2010 does not provide an exemption to traders from price marking/display for such goods. Prices must be displayed/ marked for goods which are displayed in a shop window/showroom.

 

Unit prices to be displayed

The unit price is the price per standard unit quantity of the goods.  For most goods, the standard unit quantities are the kilogram (kg), litre (l), metre (m), square metre (m2) or cubic metre (m3).  For goods sold by number, the unit price is the price per item.

The unit price must be displayed for:

rGoods sold loose from bulk (e.g. loose fruits and vegetables, potatoes, onions, carrots), or

rPre-packaged goods which have to be marked with quantity or to be made up in a prescribed quantity under Weights and Measures legislation.

 

How should prices be Marked/Displayed?

The following criteria applies to price marking and display under Section 54 of CCD2010:

rUnambiguous

rEasily identifiable

rClearly legible.

rDisplayed/Marked in a prominent place/position on the premises;

rPrices should include VAT and all taxes;

rAdditional charges (e.g. delivery, insurance, and registration or installation charges) must also be shown clearly.

In simple terms prices must be marked or displayed in a manner that ensures that consumers can see and identify prices without needing to ask for the traders help.

 

Legal Requirements under CCD2010 on Price Marking/Display

Section 54 of CCD2010 spells out the manner in which prices are to be marked or displayed. The three major requirements for traders in Fiji are:

rTraders selling price control item must keep displayed in a prominent position on the premises a list showing clearly for the information of the public the maximum price of such goods. That is list of price control items and the corresponding prices fixed by the Commission must be displayed for the information of the consumers. For example, a supermarket in Fiji must display in a prominent place a list of all price control items with the prices fixed by the Commission. Similar requirements are for the hardware companies, pharmacies, bakers, etc.

rPrice Control Items –price must be clearly marked individually except for items such as potatoes, onions, chicken etc where price display will be sufficient.

rNon-Price Control items- prices must be either marked, displayed or both.

 

What if the Prices Marked/Displayed are Different from the Prices at the Point of Sale?

TThe law requires that the prices marked or displayed must be correct. There is no excuse in case the prices are not correct.  The following remedies are available for incorrect marking/display of prices;

  1. For Price control items if the displayed or marked price is in excess of the maximum prices authorised by the Commission, the offence of overcharging is committed and on spot penalty of $1000 to natural person and $3000 to a body corporate applies. This is even if the price at the Point of Sale is not correct.
  2. In case that the prices displayed/marked are lower than the Point of Sale Price, the trader must sell the goods/services to the customers at the prices marked or displayed. Traders cannot demand prices which are higher than those displayed or marked.

 

INVOICES/RECEIPTS :

An invoice, receipt or a bill  is a commercial document issued by a seller to a buyer, relating to a sale transaction and indicating the products, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services the seller had provided the buyer.

 

The sales invoice provides the buyer with a receipt for bookkeeping reference as well as seller accountability, in case the service or merchandise does not meet expectations and consumers needs to request repairs, replacements or refunds.

 

Why are Receipts/Invoices Important for Consumer Protection?

rIt provides evidences of customer’s purchases.

rIn cases where the goods are not suitable, of merchantable quality and not corresponding to the description, evidence of purchase is a must.

rAssists a consumer who wants to make a claim about faulty goods or services against a supplier or manufacturer.

rProvides information on the validity of the consumer warranty, etc.

rAssist the Commission in prosecuting a suppler/manufacturer based on consumer complaints.

rIn cases of prosecution by the Commission, receipts/invoices provides an admissible evidence in obtaining restitution orders or seeking compensation for the consumers.

 

Why is issuing of Receipts/Invoices by Traders Important?

Not issuing receipts/invoices is an offence under Section 55 of CCD2010 and spot fine applies.

Assists in complying with the legal requirements under Section 56 on “Records” of CCD2010. It is an offence not to keep such records and accounts, including stock and costing records, as are customary and proper in the type of business carried on by a trader. Invoices/ Receipts is one such customary records and non-compliance will result in spot fines.

Assists in handling consumer complaints.

Can be used as a defence in cases of prosecution/claims.

 

Legal Requirements under CCD2010 on Invoices/Receipts

  1. Section 55- Requirements for Wholesalers

Section 55 of CCD2010 requires that a wholesaler selling any price controlled items shall at the time of sale issue to the buyer an invoice and retain a copy of such invoice.

The Section clearly states that the invoice must contain the following particulars:

The name and address of the seller and purchaser;

The date- meaning the date of the sale

A description of the goods – name , brand, etc

The quantity of the goods

The price charged

Delivery costs

rSuch other particulars as the Commission may, with the approval of the Minister, by order require generally or with references to certain goods or classes of goods.

 

b.Counter-Inflation (Issue of tax invoices by Traders) Order 1998

Who is required to issue Tax invoices under the Order?

Any registered trader under the Vat Decree who sells by wholesale or retail any goods or charges for a service supplied by him/her where the transaction value exceeds $10.00. What this means is that it is mandatory to issue receipts/invoices for any transactions above $10.00. This does not mean that traders should not be issuing for transactions below $10.00. It is the customers right to demand for invoices/receipts even for transactions below $10.00.

 

What Records are to be kept by the Traders? :

rA register to record all Tax Invoices printed in numerical order;

rThe name of the printer;

rA record of cash registers and computers in use daily; and

rA record of daily sales-

(i)            Not exceeding $10.00, and

(ii)           Exceeding $10.00

Tax invoices, where used or unused, should be kept for inspection purposes.

 

What Information should be included in the tax Invoices?

rThe tax invoice shall contain the following particulars;

rThe words “tax invoice” in a prominent place;

rThe name, address and taxpayer identification number of the supplier;

rThe name and address of the recipient (the Commission is mindful that this may not be possible in some business because of the nature of operations –e.g. Supermarkets)

rAn individual serialized number and the date upon which the tax invoice was issued;

rA description of the goods and services supplied;

rThe quantity or volume of the goods and services supplied and;

rThe total amount of the tax charged, the consideration excluding tax, and the consideration, inclusive of tax for that supply.

 

A sample Tax invoice in compliance with the minimum CDD2010 requirements is produced below:

What are the Penalties for Breaching Sections 55 and 56 of CCD2010?

Breach of Sections 55 and Section 56 is an on-spot penalties offence under Section 59 of CCD2010. On-spot penalties of $1000.00 is issued to a natural person and $3000.00 to a body corporate.  Traders/landlords are given 21 days from the date of the imposition of the spot fines to pay the fines. If the offenders fail to make payments within 21 days, the Commission institutes legal proceedings and if proven guilty, the trader/landlord is liable to pay a sum not exceeding $15000 for a natural person and $20,000 for a body corporate..

 

Some Tips for Consumers

rAlways demand for a receipt/invoice from the seller;

r Always keep the invoices/receipts safely;

rNever pay a price which is more than what is displayed or marked on a product;

rReport non-compliant traders to FCC.

 

Some Tips for the Traders

rAlways Mark prices for Price Control Item;

rAlways Display/Mark prices for Non-Price Control Items;

r Display /Mark Prices for items on widows/showroom display;

rAll price marking/display should be inclusive of VAT and other taxes;

rPrices must be marked or displayed in a manner that ensures that consumers can see and identify prices without needing to ask for the traders help.

rIssue Invoices/Receipts as required under CCD2010 – Itemised;

rNever charge a customer more then what is displayed/ marked.

rKeep records to the satisfaction of the Commission.

 

Next Week: Overcharging

For more information/details on price regulation in Fiji, visit our website on www.commcomm.gov.fj  or join us on Facebook as Fiji Commerce Commission.

If there are any topics you would like for the commission to address, please email your queries to: rachnal@fijisun.com.fj.

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