Consumers are being warned to be on the look out for any price gouging following the withdrawal of the one-cent coins from circulation in Barbados.
And while there is no hard and fast rule as to when businesses should adjust their pricing structure to accommodate the withdrawal of the coins, Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Dr DeLisle Worrell says consumers should remain vigilant.
The decision to phase out the cents was based on its high production costs, compounded by low redemption rates. The Bank drafted a set of rounding guidelines, which will see retailers rounding up or down to the nearest .05 (or five cent). Totals ending in .01 or .02 should be rounded down to .00 and totals ending .06 or .07 should be rounded down to .05.
Conversely, totals ending .03 or .04 should be rounded up to .05 and totals ending .08 and .09 are to be rounded up to .10.
Worrell told Barbados TODAY that customers had the “power” and they should not be afraid to use it.
“The approach is that the Central Bank has worked very hard to empower the consumer. We have told you how the system is supposed to work and we have told you if you have any issues and so on, and you are not clear about anything we have people who you can refer to. We have gone around and try to be as comprehensive as possible. The rest is up to the consumer,” said Worrell.
“If you see somebody who is pricing things in a way [that seem] they have used the one cent thing to jack up the price by $0.05 or something, you say ‘no, yesterday these items were on the shelf for such and such a price. If you adjust that price it is suppose to [be X]’. So consumers have to exercise their rights,” he said.
Although one cents will no longer be issued, those in circulation remain legal tender and can continue to be spent at retailers that chose to accept them, or, alternately exchange at financial institutions indefinitely.