As much as 140 gram from one kilo taken off
A recent study from the Trade Competition and Consumer Protection Authority (TCCPA) indicates that some butchers are using fake scales to cheat customers by as much as 140 grams of meat when they purchase a kilogram.
The study, which focused on meat and retail commodities showed that many of the scales used in Ethiopia are substandard regardless if they are digital or analog, meaning that consumers often end up getting the short end of the stick when it comes to purchasing meat.
Of the 12 consumer associations 83 percent of butchers who sell a kilo of meat for 80 birr deduct from 10 to 143 grams from a kilo of meat, which means consumers loose more than 2,000 birr per 100kg meat.
The study also looked 21 private butchers who sell a kilo of meat for 160 birr or above and found that 64 percent of them cheated customers 130 grams per kilo of meat because they used bad scales.
According to the study conducted on 76 retailers who sold sugar, salt, coffee, wheat, white flour, and lentils from 5 to 15 grams is deducted by incorrect measuring scales.
The fake weighing machines are manufactured using cast-iron instead of aluminum and are being used by the traders to cheat the unsuspecting customers.
Many complain that they are being taken advantage of by sellers and the Authority is blaming the Addis Ababa Trade Bureau for not taking action.
“Even though our sample size is small it does indicate that fake weighing machines are commonly being used. This is disturbing both because the consumers are being cheated and because the Trade Bureau is not working to eliminate these scales from the market by prosecuting those that use unregistered or un-calibrated scales. Consumers need to examine the scales before using them, they should count the lines and make sure they are not being ripped off,” Mengistu Mola, Research Director at TCCPA said.
The Addis Ababa Butchers Association says the study is not valid because it only covers 33 businesses out of 3,000 butcheries in the city. They argue further evaluation is needed.
The government plans to increase penalties for using fake scales.