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Customers can snitch on stores not complying with gov’t price fixing policy

picture of small store

Shops and markets carrying food products with government-mandated official prices have to display that fact on notices posted at their entrances. According to the decree, a logo and image will have to appear on the notice in addition to text notifying customers of the price-fixing policy.

A few weeks ago, Prime Minister Orbán announced that on February 1 the government would freeze the price of several basic food products at what they cost on October 15 last year. At the moment, these products are granulated sugar, wheat flour, sunflower cooking oil, pork legs, chicken breasts, chicken backs, and regular UHT cow’s milk.

The prices for each of these products cannot be higher than what they sold for in the given store on October 15, 2021. The policy will be in place from Febuary 1-May 1, 2022, with Hungary’s parliamentary elections expected to take place during this period on April 3.

Consumer protection agencies will monitor compliance of the provisions starting on February 1. Businesses that are found to have violated the regulation can be fined between 50,000-3,000,000 Ft. ($160-$9,620), which can be levied multiple times at higher amounts.

For repeated offenders of the price freeze policy, the business can have its activities temporarily suspended for periods ranging from a day up to half a year. If a consumer lodges a complaint about a business not complying with the price fixing policy, authorities will treat it as a public interest report and investigate the matter immediately.

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