Musoc is just one of the number of bus operators fined for overcharing customers.
Musoc is just one of the number of bus operators fined for overcharing customers.

COSTA RICA NEWS – For overcharging a customer ¢410 colones,  it will cost the the Musoc transport company providing regular bus service between San José and Pérez Zeledón, ¢5.409.000 colones.

The Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos (Aresep) – regulator of public prices and services – imposed the fine after Mario Valverde, who works as a messenger for the Legislative Assembly, was charged ¢3.220 instead of the established fare of ¢2.810.

Valverde says that when he noticed he was being overcharged, he filed a complaint. The Musoc employee said she charged the new fare that had been approved and published in La Gaceta, the government official publication. However, after an investigation, the Aresep found that not being the case and fined the company.

The Valverde case goes back to 2012.

Today, two years later, cases of overcharging are common, yet most go unreported. In the majority of cases the transport operators hike the rates without authorization.

In January this year, the Tralapa company, with regular service from San José to Santa Cruz was fined ¢7 million colones. In July 2014, the Aresep cancelled the concession to a Peñas Blancas bus operator.

The State owned and operated railway, the INCOFER, has also overcharged passengers. In August 2014, the railway was fined ¢3.7 million colones for overcharging customers in the August 2013 Romeria, the annual pilgrimage to Cartago.

The problem is that not everyone takes the time to filed a complaint, a process they feel is cumbersome and time wasting.

But it’s not just transport companies, complaints are often filed against retailers, like that of Walmart. Back in December 2012, the retail giant was to have charged customer only ¢17.000 colones for a flat screen television during its December madness sale. The company refused to honour the sticker price, claiming that someone (a customer) had changed the price in the confusion.

With notes from Ahora.cr