Local October 10, 2013 | 12:23 pm

Web shopping puts an end to Dominican retailers’ decades-long price gouging

Santo Domingo.- Dominican Republic’s Couriers Association (Asodec) on Thursday slammed those who oppose online purchases on claims of lost tax revenue, and also revealed what local buyers have long suspected; that the country’s retailers have price-gouged them for decades.

The entity criticized the retailers who claim that items bought on the web for under US$200 pay no tax, warning that any levy placed on internet shopping will "severely" jeopardize Dominican consumers even more.

Asodec president José Burdié said a tax on Web shopping would also breach Dominican Republic’s free trade pact with the U.S. and Central America, which provides for only a customs fee on purchases of less than 200 dollars. He said web purchases currently pay a 25-cent-per-kilo fee.

He said a tax will hurt consumers who currently save as much as 300% when they buy a product online. "This could lead to a constraint to the facilities now available to consumers to buy their products freely."

The business leader also warned that any hurdle on online purchases could also jeopardize the country’s 65 million pounds of fresh vegetable exports, since most of the shipments are placed on fights which bring items before returning.

Burdié debunked the National Commercial Companies Association’s complaint that several of its affiliates have gone under from the jump in Web shopping, and said the failures were from mistaken investments and to Dominican merchants’ “failure to adapt to the market’s reality.”

The Courier Association added that estimates that around 65,000 Dominicans buy online each month and about 500 thousand a year.

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