The warning came during an official press conference held yesterday (Oct 7).
“The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is held each year to uphold the traditions of Phuket people’s forefathers. Therefore, Phuket Province [the provincial government] has issued an announcement alerting operators to not hoard goods or take advantage of the opportunity to raise prices for goods and services,” Governor Narong said.
“Labels clearly showing the prices of goods and services must be used to be fair to customers purchasing goods and services and to prevent traders from seizing the opportunity to raise the prices of products without any reasonable cause, causing consumers to suffer throughout the festival,” he added.
Officers from the Phuket Provincial Commercial Office are now inspecting stalls set up near participating shrines across the island, Governor Narong continued.
Any vendors found not clearly showing prices or overcharging customers could be found in breach of Sections 29, 30 and 41 of the Price of Goods and Services Act 1999, which may incur a penalty of a fine of up to B100,000 or up to seven years in prison, or both, he warned.
Complaints can be submitted by calling the Phuket Provincial Commercial Office at 076-219586 or the Ministry of Commerce hotline 1569, Governor Narogn said.
Alternatively, people can inform the Phuket Damrongdhama Center (Phuket Provincial Ombudsman’s Office) at 076-213203 or on their hotline 1567, he added.
The warning follows officials confirming that vendors had started charging higher prices for dishes served as part of the Vegetarian Festival after the disastrous floods affecting 29 provinces up north resulted in the prices of fresh produce on the island spiral upwards.