12° Nicosia,
22 July, 2024

Bill for 'e-Kalathi' product price comparison app submitted for Cabinet approval

Preparations underway for the presentation of the 'e-Kalathi' app bill to Parliament, including tender technical conditions

Maria Eracleous

Maria Eracleous

The bill for implementing a digital tool that enables daily information on retail prices and product comparisons is ready for submission to the Cabinet. The tool, eventually called "Electronic Basket" or "e-kalathi," allows consumers to select products, compare prices per retail outlet, and determine the total cost of their basket per outlet. Additionally, the app updates options and informs consumers of the cheapest supermarket or bakery based on the selected products.

The objective

The mobile app will update the options and inform the consumer of the cheapest supermarket based on the products they have chosen to put in their basket.

The e-kalathi has undergone legislative and technical review and will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval on Wednesday. After Easter, it will be discussed in the House Committee on Energy, Commerce, and Tourism. Technical specifications are also being prepared so the Consumer Protection Agency can prepare for its eventual passage. The objective is to start debating the bill in the House and implement it within six months of its adoption, by November 2023. The Consumer Protection Agency emphasizes that the tool will help with price transparency and enable consumers to make better-informed choices.

Provisions of the draft

The text has not undergone any significant changes following the legislative and technical revision according to the responsible department. However, based on the content of the draft bill of the Product Price Data Recording and Monitoring Act of 2023, price data reporters are required to update the platform with the above data on a daily basis, no later than 10:00 a.m. The draft also states that failure to submit or submission of an inaccurate and/or incomplete declaration, in accordance with the provisions of this law, constitutes an infringement that shall incur a penalty in the form of an administrative fine of one thousand (1,000) to fifty thousand (50,000) euros, depending on the turnover of the price data reporting obligor in the year immediately preceding the infringement, as the case may be, and depending on the gravity of the infringement. The price data shall be the daily shelf prices defined as the retail price, excluding promotional activities, in total per food and/or other product business and/or the average selling price prevailing on the previous day (total product sales turnover divided by the number of units sold).

The turnover

A point of contention, as demonstrated in a previous discussion of this issue, was the reference to enterprises with an annual turnover of more than EUR 8 million. Specifically, the draft bill states that all supermarkets with an annual turnover of more than EUR 8 million (8,000,000), based on the financial statements of the immediately preceding financial period, and all bakeries with a turnover of more than EUR 1 million (1,000,000), based on the financial statements of the immediately preceding financial period, without exception, are subject to the obligation to submit price data. The inclusion of supermarkets and bakeries in one category is already considered not to promote equal competition and is expected to be among the changes to be discussed before the Committee. As for the products to be included in the application, the draft includes those that have the highest consumption and importance for the household and are capable of being traded and available in food and/or other product businesses. The Minister shall define the product codes for which price data reporting is required by decree published in the Official Gazette, which may be periodically revised on the basis of their sales and seasonal needs, following a decision by the Director of the Consumer Protection Agency. It should also be noted that the declaration of products will require the product code number, the name presented on the shelf label, the price presented on the shelf label, the average selling price of the product, including discounts and supplier promotions, and the unit price in the basic unit of measurement.

The e-consumer

This concept is equivalent to the e-Katanalotis platform operating in the Greek market. On this platform, consumers can be informed about the prices of products available from supermarkets (including fuel). For each product, consumers can be informed about its price evolution compared to the previous week. They can also add products of their choice to the application's basket, and the total cost for each different supermarket is automatically calculated. However, this application is different from the Household Basket. Another basket is also available on the Greek market - the Godparents' Basket. 

[This article first appeared in Kathimerini's Oikonomiki edition and was translated from its Greek original]

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