Shop keepers were warned yesterday by the Confederation of Spanish Consumer Associations against “unjustifiably” increasing prices under the guise of “euro rounding up.” Over the past two days the principal complaint consumer associations have received from consumers is over the increase in prices. For example some Palma bakeries have put the price of a loaf of bread up by more than eight pesetas. Shoppers have told consumers associations that they have been “surprised and annoyed” by the price increases as part of the euro rounding up process. According to the Confederation, nearly all prices have risen. In December the Consumer Organisation issued a statement that the arrival of the euro could cause an increase in the cost of public transport, but at the same time warned shop keepers to try to maintain standard prices, but it appears that some are “over-stepping the mark” and if caught could be penalised. Some of the small shopkeepers were still complaining about the length of time involved in getting euro change. In order to resolve any outstanding problems some of the Balearics' small traders are having with the euro (the last pre e-day survey indicated that at least 20 per cent of Palma alone was not fully prepared), the Chamber of Commerce has launched a eurohelp scheme. The campaign is aimed at small shopkeepers across Majorca to help iron out any post e-day doubts. The Chamber of Commerce confirmed yesterday that early soundings have indicated that the introduction of the euro is going well and that the peseta and the euro appear to be existing in harmony. But, some shopkeepers have said that they are finding the process of taking pesetas but returning the change in euros confusing. Furthermore, many claim that the introductory period of eight weeks is far too long. The dual currency period is also causing serious concerns about counterfeit money being harder to detect because of shop keepers having to handle two different currencies. The Chamber of Commerce hopes to be able to deal with any confused traders as quickly as possible. Local business chiefs believe that the peseta's days are numbered and that the Balearics will be operating with a single currency well before the February 28 deadline therefore reducing the problems being caused by the dual currency period.

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