The Japanese public are complaining about unfair price hikes since the national consumption tax rate was increased from 5 percent to 8 percent on April 1. This is reflected in the data that Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency has revealed on Thursday, saying that the agency has received more than 1,000 complaints of suspected illegal price increases since the consumption tax rate was raised.
“Many people are complaining about price hikes on goods closely related to their daily lives,” said an official from the agency’s Consumer Education and Information Division. This division was opened in October last year, as the agency felt the need to have a special consultation desk related to the consumption tax increase. The data from the desk reveals a total of 1,482 inquiries, of which 1,147 were complaints about suspected unfair price hikes, the officials of the agency. Many of the complaints were about price increases that the Japanese public felt exceeded the tax hike. One consumer complaint showed that, with the caller saying that the price of a cup of coffee unfairly increased from 200 yen to 220 (about US$1.95 to $2.15). Others reported that stores changed their prices to before-tax prices from tax-inclusive prices without actually adjusting the base prices.
The agency is calm about the issue, saying that they have not seen any reason to worry. “So far, we have not found instances that require investigations or instructions,” one official said. The agency officials also explained that price increases that exceed the tax hike aren’t necessarily illegal if there are reasonable factors behind the price increase. The agency also said that number of complaints had been declining since mid-April.
[via Jiji Press]