Staff Reporter THE Summer Sales, which will begin in the Balearics on 8 July, envisages that shoppers will be spending an average of between 100 and 105 euros, which is a slight increase up on 2003.

The Consumers' Federation (CECU) also confirmed that the Sales which began on 21 this month in Aragaon and Madrid, will remain in force, in some regions, until the last days of September. This will mean an approximate bill to consumes of 4'100 million euros.

Although the start and end dates for Sales peiods are fixed according to the different trading laws of each region, State law establishes a minimum period of one week. Furthermore, to comply with by-laws, shops have to reduce in price at least one half of their stock.

The Confederation reminded shoppers that their rights are not in any way eroded during this period, and that they “can, and must, demand” that considerations due to them be honoured in the same was as any other period of the year.

The organisation signalled that the Sales period is good for acquiring products much more cheaply without losing the quality aspect, although they warn that “in order to get the most economically from buying in the Sales, consumers should only buy what is really necessary”.

The Consumers' Organisation (OCU) recommends that “to fight against compulsive buying, the shopper should think about what is really necessary and remember that “often there are other opportunities during the year to buy goods which are reduced in price”.

The Federation of Consumers in Action (FACUA) condemns the fact that there are establishments which “put prices up before the Sales period” and “then, under the pretence that the goods are being sold at a reduced Sales price”, re-insert the original figure. In their opinion, “this is subjecting the consumer to fraudulent practice”.

FACUA recommends to the purchaser that they be guided by the current price of the articles and ask the Regional Consumer Services that they intensify “the price controls during the Sales and in the days leading up to the Sales”.

This organisation also alerted the public to the practices of “deceiptful advertising” of which some stores are guilty. Slogans can include the wording: “Reductions of up to 50%”, when in fact this discount is only applicable to a limited number of items.

To offer during the Sales, articles which are defective or which the store has bought expressly to sell during the Sales period, is considered unacceptable practice and companies using these tactics are liable to a fine of between 3'000 and 15'000 euros.

The Regional Consumer Services finally indicated that trading establishments which adhere to the Consumer Arbitration System “offer more guarantees to the purchaser”.