Your Euro Monitor

Checking that prices do not get rounded up thanks to the euro change is best made by the citizen. The more citizens are on the alert, the more citizens write to the papers to uncover possible hikes, then the more possible it is for the abuse to be nipped in the bud. There’s nothing worse than adverse publicity for the company involved. A propos I received an email that is doing the rounds (and that claims to have been an article in the Times). Here it is as a perfect example of the Citizen Euro Watch:

SMS euro prices

David Thake, Sliema.

If one views Vodafone and Go Mobile’s websites, one finds that after January 1, 2008 SMS messages will be charged at €0.05. These are currently
charged at 2c.

If Lm1 is equivalent to €2.33, then it stands that 50 SMS should also cost€2.33. Yet, one finds that as from January 1, these will cost €2.50. This
is an increase in price of seven per cent just because of the eurochangeover. With about 40 million SMS being sent on a monthly basis, this adds up to an extra €1.6 million in revenue to the two mobile providers.

Is this FAIR?

Please circulate around to your friends And relatives and invade go care and vodafone customer care that its not fair and theycall this E-Fair?


6 responses to “Your Euro Monitor

  1. Yes I agree with you – and I’m on the alert. But in one case prices where rounded off in June – before dual pricing, and now they were rounded off by another 2 euro cents. 2 euro cents aren’t much, but the rounding off in June was a lot (especially over a long period of time)… I called Linja Euro… and so far nothing happened – nothing happened in June and I think nothing will happen now.

    So now, what can I do next?

  2. Right. First of all.. as is explained in the letter it’s never “2 cents aren’t much”. Whenever you see a hike of 1c too many that means 1c multiplied by all the customers who purchase whatever product or service that is being overcharged. So never let anyone tell you that the sum in question is irrelevant. One of Europe’s landmark cases (EU) is based on a ridiculously small amount (case Costa vs Enel) in a utilities bill. I would not be exaggerating if I said that this case changed the shape of the EU as we know it.

    As for what else can you do. I would write to the Consumer Division… a signed letter quoting all relevant details and ask for a follow up. They might already be investigating the case for all you know. If that does not work why not start a name and shame campaign in lieu of the NECC? That’s an idea for a blog actuallz… blogs work you know. This time its not a blog that I can start because I am not on site for this kind of thing.

    One last thing. If you do start this blog make sure that companies are informed (through email) of any posting so that they may have a right of reply and clarification.

    The net is out there… use it!

  3. Thanks for the advice! Today I have another complaint to make to NECC. A restaurant outside uni increased prices by 10c (Maltese LM). So having a coffee and a baguette would actually cost 20c more.

  4. I’m sorry but this is getting ridiculous. A 1cent or 2 cent rounding up of prices _is_ insignificant in the greater scheme of things. Retailers are being terrified into maintaining their ungainly euro prices on pain of public pillorying and heaven knows what else.
    Is it not just common sense that for the sake of simplicity prices are evened up and down to sums that don’t turn the return of small change into a comic ordeal. It may come as a great surprise to people to learn that the value of consumer goods before 2008 were also often arbitrary and overpriced.
    When will traders be able to start raising their prices to come into line with across-the-board price rises and inflation anyway?
    Frankly, if people are so terrified of being fleeced of a few coppers a day, they should just have done with it and do all their shopping at Tal-Lira and go the whole hog in their skinflint zeal. But in doing so, remember that Tal-Lira has actually been ripping you off for selling you items worth 2 euros for 1Lm.
    The point of having a monitoring organisations is to guard against serious fraud not being charged 1 extra eurocent (about 4 mills, for anyone that actually remembers actually using that tin foil denomination) for your sodding pastizzi.

  5. Vlad. Sorry for the delay in replying. In short I think there is a difference between the rounding up for a cup of tea at your local bar (which I think is acceptable) and the rounding up of the price of an SMS which affects millions of messages sent. There might be some formula to calculate the effect on the market and whether consumer power can influence such changes (as in don’t buy if price is too high). Consumers can group together and inform each other of best prices. It’s not about your sodding pastizzi (which I am allergic to anyway)… it’s about the difference between pragmatic rounding as Daphne described in last Sunday’s article (sorry no time to link) and real abuses that allow the trader to pocket an unjustified hike thanks to the changeover. Insignificant depends on the volume of the hike on the whole market and not on the individual consumer. Here in Luxembourg I have a bone to pick with my cable provider who charges me €2 extra because I choose not to do a direct transfer for each payment. 2€ (80 Maltese cents) a month is nothing to me but I cannot stand the downright cheek – they now that 2€ multiplied by many customers is a good amount for their pockets… at no extra effort.

  6. In a macroeconomic sense, there may be some grounds for feairing the inflationary effects that these artificial price hikes could bring. However, I did get the impression that the larger euros denominations are making a psychological impact on consumers, who may end up spending less of their euros.
    I take your point about the sms’s and like, but much of the press reports have been of the pastizzi and cup of tea variety. If people are complaining about marginal and insignificant price rises, it points to the possibility that the general public is becoming ever more acutely concerned about the cost of living. The introduction of the euro will only serve to maintain the high public profile of this issue, which is not necessarily a good thing. Cost rises are inevitability; not that you would know that from the kind of rhetoric you get from certain wings of the political spectrum.

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