Shops in the Balearics will spend this week getting ready for the winter sales, which start on Monday, with goods this year having to be labelled with four different prices. The original prices will have to be clearly indicated in both pesetas and euros, so too will the reduced sale prices. A few areas on the mainland will be starting their sales today, but the majority will be waiting until Monday. The Confederation of Consumer Associations says that there is a great deal of apprehension about the sales this year, “only” 200'000 million pesetas was spent last year. The Confederation fears that the combination of the economic down turn and the introduction of the euro will have a negative effect on consumer confidence and spending. The Confederation's advice to consumers is to carry a conversion table or calculator when shopping because of prices being rounded up in to euros. For the next few weeks when confusion is expected to be rife, the Confederation says that shoppers with any serious doubts or problems with euros, especially during the sales, should pay by credit card. The Confederation says that during the sales shops have to accept credit cards although this year there has been a certain amount of controversy over credit card use because of the high commission shops have to pay. The main concern for consumer associations this year is that the “reductions are in price and not in quality.” Consumers should make sure that they keep all the receipts and if there are any doubts, check with the store prior to making a purchase about their refund policy. In Palma, inspectors will be out on the streets this week making sure that no shops try to get a head start on their competitors by starting the sales before the weekend in order to cash in on the last minute shopping frenzy for Three Kings, which is this weekend.

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