BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE) urged retailers of ‘back-to-school’ supplies to be responsible and ethical in their dealings, as consumer spending is expected to rise ahead of the upcoming new school year.

According to the department, ethical business practices will help boost customer loyalty and spending, noting that  providing good value and moderating cost will drive sustainable domestic consumption and business growth.

Brunei’s civil servants received their annual bonus on Thursday, and the Brunei Salebration 2018 is hoped to encourage domestic spending, with JPKE advising participating businesses to “offer their best deals”.

However, it has been previously reported that Bruneians cite favourable exchange rates as one of the reasons to shop across the border.

With many retailers offering the convenience of back-to-school shopping under one roof, the department reminded families to get more value for their money by comparing prices and quality to ensure that they are making informed purchases.

The statement issued on Friday came following the JPKE’s visits to several bookstores recently.

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“Consumers are advised to keep proof of purchase [such as receipts] in case of any required follow-up after the purchase, and also to study the terms and conditions of purchase, particularly for electronics items,” JPKE said, adding that it is a customer’s right to seek clarification from sales representatives when in doubt.

Businesses are required to display price tags clearly on items to ensure transparency and so parents can make price comparisons.

Businesses failing to comply with the Price Display Regulations can face a penalty of not more than $1,000 after one warning notice. Subsequent offenders can be prosecuted and face a maximum fine of $20,000 and imprisonment of up to five years, the statement added.

As part of the “Smart Consumer” initiative, consumers can file complaint of any unethical business conducts directly to JPKE via the SmartConsumer mobile application. The app is downloadable for free on iOS and android devices.

Consumers can also send their feedback, complaints or queries related to consumer protection and competition issues via email: consumercomplaint@jpke.gov.bn or call 2230223 (during office hours).

They can also go directly to Department of Competition and Consumer Affair, Department of Economic Planning and Development, Room 3.06, Level 3, West Wing, Block 2A, Jalan Ong Sum Ping, BA1131.

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