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Ripped Off

With Dashain just around the corner shopping for clothes is at full swing, however as consumers are we being ripped off ? Are these sales just mere marketing strategies or are we actually getting value for money?

There are stores in the valley that do bring clothes for really low prices and sell them at a sky rocketing price. Infact according to a few entrepreneurs Life&Times (L&T) spoke to the trend is common.

shopping.jpg“When I first started my business in 1996 we would bring clothes from China and sell them for a hefty price in Kathmandu and though our profit margin is not that high these days due to growing competition, the clothes you buy around Kathmandu have been priced pretty high as compared to their original price,” said a storekeeper at New Road, who was not comfortable with us quoting his name. He further stated that even people who tend to bargain still pay a hefty price.

Like him a few other storekeepers agreed that the price range for clothes are a little heftier than they should be but according to them the prices for clothes that have been imported are determined by various factors like the exchange rate of dollars and the custom duty.

“In the past the rate of custom duty was less and since we buy the products in foreign currency, the exchange rate plays a vital role in the price of the apparel,” said Nirja Khanal Agrawal, for Glam Rush, a shop at Times Square Mall, Durbarmarg.

She also stated that because most Nepali consumers these days are aware of the quality of the products it’s not as easy as it was in the past to cheat customers.

 “Nepali consumers these days are quality conscious and are very aware of the prices and if what they are buying is worth that much,” she added.

According to her, the reason price of clothes vary around town is because the Custom Duty Office is not transparent about the exact price they need to pay per apparel. “I know that customs officers charge different prices for the same product, at least that is what I have been told by a few people I know,” she said.

Dilip Subba owner of Chaemin Korean Shop echoed. According to him the price they pay as taxes and factors like rent of the shop determines the price of the product. “I don’t think shop keepers are keen on selling clothes at a hefty price as we need our products to roll and with so much competition, hefty price tags really don’t make sense,” he said before adding that that shops in the valley tend to keep things on 50-60 per cent sale and charge a higher price than what they are worth even during sale.

However while talking to L&T officers at the Customs Duty Office stated that entrepreneurs need to pay 20 per cent of the price of the garment as customs duty and 13 per cent VAT, they also stated that they have always been very transparent about it. 

Additionally, the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC), is expecting to see a growth in the import of readymade garments during the festive season. According to Suyesh Khanal, at the department of statistics of TEPC there has been an annual increment in the imports of readymade clothes over the years.

Officials at TEPC also stated that as the shopping scenario in Kathmandu becomes more vibrant with each passing day, consumers need to shop smart and hunt for the best bargains before emptying their pockets.

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