Shops in Croatia fined for unfair price rises after the country switched to the Euro

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By Euronews  with AP
Bargains or rip-offs - shops in Croatia accused of hiking Euro prices
Bargains or rip-offs - shops in Croatia accused of hiking Euro prices   -   Copyright  AP

Shopkeepers in Croatia have been accused of cashing in on currency confusion by unfairly bumping up prices since the country switched to the Euro.

Croatia became the 20th country to join the Eurozone on 1 January.

Some experts say shops are rounding up euro-denominated prices or suddenly hiking prices by up to 50 percent, rather than merely converting their prices using the designated conversion rate of 7.53 kuna to 1 euro.

While retailers say prices were largely unaffected by the changeover and blame inflation, the government openly sided with the public and announced measures to combat price hiking, including sending inspectors to stores and service providers, as well as demanding large retail chains to report prices of every single product on a bi-weekly basis.

On Friday 20 January, the state inspectorate said that after checking about 1,000 stores in the two weeks prior they found unjustified price hikes at about a quarter of the establishments, issuing more than 240 fines.

Croatia joined Eurozone

At the same time, latest data showed the Croatian inflation rate was 13.1 percent in December, slightly slowing from the all-time high of 13.5 percent observed the month before.

The price of nearly everything rose through most of 2022, inflation has been blamed on rising energy costs and supply chain disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine.

‘When I look at just the most basic necessities, like butter, bread, milk, the prices are unbearable now. It's not the increase they warned us about, it's 10 or 20 percent,’ said pensioner Damar Arbanas.

‘Everything went up drastically. In spite of everything they told us earlier, it's unbelievable. I've seen some comparisons with Slovenia and how it went in other eurozone countries, but that was all nonsense clearly.’