Thu, Nov 29, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Foundation slams Carrefour over tissue mislabeling

MISLEADING A test of 14 tissue paper brands listed Carrefour as the worst offender, with seven out of 12 samples containing less tissues than labeled

By Jerry Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

A woman shows various brands of tissue at a press conference held by the Consumers' Foundation yesterday to announce the results of a survey on tissue paper brands. Carrefour emerged as the worst offender in the survey.

PHOTO: CNA

The Consumers' Foundation (消基會) yesterday criticized Carrefour for misleading consumers after a survey showed that more than half of its store-branded tissue had less paper per pack than the number printed on the label.

The foundation conducted a survey of 14 tissue paper brands recently, with Carrefour being listed as the worst offender.

The tests showed that seven out of 12 sampled Carrefour tissue paper packages had less than the number of tissues indicated on the label, foundation chairman Cheng Jen-hung (程仁宏) told a press conference yesterday.

"Six out of the 12 sampled packages were short of two tissues per pack," he said.

"One sample was even short of eight tissues, resulting in a margin of error of 6.15 percent, which is 3.15 percentage points higher than the government-mandated acceptable margin of error of minus 3 percent," Cheng said.

The foundation said that the survey was conducted in response to consumer complaints about the rising prices of daily necessities, with some buyers accusing retailers of deceptive marketing practices.

However, some brands did not attempt to cheat or mislead consumers, said Yu Kai-hsiung (游開雄), the foundation's deputy secretary-general.

"Three brands, including Watsons [屈臣式], had a zero margin of error. This means that companies can control the product quantity," Yu said.

"If companies [like Watsons] can do it, why can't others do it, too?" he asked.

The foundation said the survey cast doubts on companies that take advantage of consumers by advertising no change in prices but trying to cut corners.

"This is another way of increasing prices. Although the price of the product hasn't been changed, the quantity has been reduced," Cheng said.

The foundation also criticized RT-Mart (大潤發) and Wellcome (頂好), saying labels on their tissue paper packages did not include information on the manufacturing company and address.

"Companies that fail to follow this policy may face a fine of between NT$50,000 and NT$25 million [US$773,000]," said Yang Sho-jung, a board director at the foundation.

Yang also advised consumers to look beyond pricing.

The price difference between Ro Chin (柔情) and Wellcome's (頂好) bundle of eight with 130 sheets per pack is NT$50.

"However, consumers need to take both price and quality into consideration when purchasing," said Yang, who is also a sociology professor at Soochow University.

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