Written Answers. - Euro Changeover.

Marian McGennis

Ceist:

152 Ms M. McGennis asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will consider the need for short-term legislation to prevent profiteering on the euro changeover. [27522/01]

The introduction of the euro should not, of itself, require any trader to increase prices. Of course, it is open to any business to increase their prices if they want to do so and changes in prices do occur for various reasons and at different times during the trading year. In a competitive environment this is understandable.

Successive Governments have recognised that the encouragement of a competitive environment and promotion of greater price awareness is a far better way of ensuring value for money for consumers than the imposition of price control legislation which would require that all price adjustments for all products by approved in advance. The introduction of the euro does not change this fact.

I believe that the vast majority of traders want to behave honourably and fairly during the changeover to the euro. Some unscrupulous traders may seek to use the introduction of the euro as an opportunity to introduce unwarranted price increases. However, the retail market in particular is highly competitive and at the end of the day I believe that the market will punish those who seek to take advantage of the changeover in this way.

Consumers need to realise the power that they themselves have if they feel they are not being treated fairly, that is simply to take their business elsewhere. The large numbers of traders who have already signed up to the codes of practice on dual display of prices are entitled to display a special logo approved by the Director of Consumer Affairs as evidence of a commitment to carry out the changeover fairly. These traders recognise that it makes good business sense to be in a position to demonstrate to their customers that they have made a commitment not to seek unfair advantage from the changeover. I would encourage consumers to shop where they see this logo displayed. I would also strongly urge retailers in particular who have not yet done so to contact their trade association or the Director of Consumer Affairs without any further delay and sign up to one of the codes of practice on dual display of prices.

I therefore have no plans to introduce legislation in relation to the euro changeover.