Resident reader, Mr G Shaw of Loulé, sent this letter of complaint to the management of Apolónia supermarket in Almancil:
For seven or eight years, my wife and I have visited your supermarket at least once a week. At the beginning of this year, I decided that I could no longer carry on with this weekly visit, and now go to Modelo twice a week.
I found that the prices were, in some cases, double those charged at other stores, for the same items, and that your stock control is very poor. You may recall I have already written to you twice in the past regarding this matter. Several of my friends confirm that this is the case on both the above issues.
My wife does go to your supermarket once a week to obtain some items, but it is a very small amount compared to what we used to spend there.
During her latest visit on December 21 2004, she bought five bottles of Ribena – two of these had an IVA rate of five per cent at a cost of 2.97 euros, and three were charged at an IVA rate of 12 per cent at a cost of 2.79 euros. Does anything in your store make sense?”
Paulo Apolónia of Apolónia supermarket replied:
Thank you for your letter, dated December 22 2004. We are sorry that you have decided not to come to our shop as you used to – we do not like to lose clients. As for the complaints you make, let me answer them one by one.
1. We have a policy of having the same prices, or as close as we can, as other supermarkets. If you found a price that is, as you said, double of what other supermarkets charge, then please let us know what these items are, so we can investigate the matter.
2. Our stock control is not 100 per cent fail proof, but I don’t agree with you that it’s poor. However, we are continuing to invest in having the best stock control possible.
3. As for the difference in the IVA rate of the Ribena, it’s due to the fact that concentrated Ribena Blackcurrant is bought directly from an overseas supplier and has a resale IVA rate of five per cent. The Ribena Blackcurrant (non-concentrated) is bought from a Portuguese supplier with an IVA rate of 12 per cent. Since you bought both kinds of Ribena, we charge you both IVA rates.
Please let me end this letter informing you that this supermarket is, and has always been, family owned and that at least one of us is always here to answer any complaint in person, even though our excellent staff are always there to help.