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Latvia faces first complaints about price growth on euro introduction

January 11, 2014, 3:27 UTC+3 11
Some complained about dishonest distributors refusing to take lati in large denominations and euro banknotes and change
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© EPA/ITAR-TASS/VALDA KALNINA

RIGA, January 11 (Itar-Tass) - Latvian Consumer Rights Protection Centre has faced an avalanche of complaints about price growth after the country officially joined the eurozone on January 1, thus becoming the currency union’s 18th member. In the first week of the year alone the Centre received 425 complaints.

The press office reported Friday 40 percent of dissatisfied citizens pointed to price growth after the currency switch, another 25 percent - about false conversion and other violations. Some complained about dishonest distributors refusing to take lati in large denominations and euro banknotes and change. The Center is now planning about 30,000 inspections to check the transparency of the conversion process.

According to the latest price monitoring, prices for most goods and services (96.2 percent) remained unchanged as of late December. Price growth was recorded in 2.3 percent of cases, decline - in 1.6 percent.

From October 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014 prices in Latvia are stated in two currencies in accordance with the exchange rate, 0.702804 lati for euro. During two weeks following the country’s accession to the Eurozone, both currencies are used in Latvia, whereas change is given only in euros. Money exchange free of commission will be available within six months after the Eurozone accession, then possible indefinitely but only in the Bank of Latvia.

By the Ministry of the Economy’s estimates, prices may add 0.2-0.3 percent on euro introduction.

Since the start of 2013, Latvia has been monitoring consumer prices for 93 items of goods and services. The monthly monitoring is conducted in 32 retail and service enterprises in Latvia’s major cities.

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