31 July 2007

100,000 complaints filed on false prizes

In the past 12 months, from July 2006-July 2007, the Social Affairs Ministry has filed about 100,000 complaints on false prizes inserted in consumer good products, while the four big producers of PT Unilever Indonesia, Nestle, Frisian Flag and Sari Husada recorded 75,000 in the same period.

A release from the ministry on Monday showed that in 2005, a cooperation with state-postal company PT Post Indonesia had burned 40,000 false prize coupons. The number increased to 44,281 in 2006. The coupons was eliminated in January 2007.

PT Pos Indonesia reported that between January to July 2007, the number of false prize coupons has reached 13,932.

A campaign called "Be Aware of Fraud Under the Cover of a Prize" was held in Jakarta on Tuesday, attended by artists and Social Affairs Minister Bachtiar Chamsyah. As part of the campaign. a million posters were spread throughout the country.

The campaign was held by the ministry, in cooperation with PT Unilever Indonesia, Nestle, Frisian Flag, Sari Husada, BNI, Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI), and non-government organizations called Missi and Indonesian Anti-Crimes Society (Maki).

Aimed to promote public awareness of the fraud, Minister Chamsyah called on people to be very careful in responding when they were declared as the winner. "Even if you found a coupon in a product you just bought, a number of false coupons have been found."

According to Maki's Coordinator Radityo Djadjoeri said that the frauds were conducted by mafias. "They bought the products with prizes and put the fake coupon into them and resealed the package neatly. Then they put the products in the market."

The coupons, he added, ussually ask the winner to call a number. "When they do they are asked to transfer some money as the tax payment for claiming the prize. The consumer goods producers like PT Unilever Indonesia, PT Nestle Indonesia, PT Frisian Flag, and PT Sari Husada usually pay the tax."

Djadjoeri also said that mafias allegedly got Rp1,5 billion from the frauds in the period of January-July 2007, based on the complaints filed by the victims. From about 6,000 complaints in the period, about 10% of them reported they had transferred some money.

He called on people to be careful when finding a prize coupon or sticker at the products being promoted nowadays. "It could be a false. You better check the phone number on the coupon with the office of the related producer."

PT Unilever Indonesia has two promotional programs with its detergent powder Rinso and Lifebouy soap, offering billions of rupiah as prizes and running until Aug. 31, 2007. Nestle has promotion programs with its products of Nescafe 3 in 1, Dancow, Excella, Breakfast Cereal, and Alpo which run until September 2007.

(Ing)

The Point - 31 July 2007

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