Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hopcoms changing looks, getting computerised to beat fake ones

Hopcoms changing looks, getting
computerised to beat fake ones

There are about 300 fake Hopcoms outlets in the city and they have been set up in places where genuine outlets run by Horticulture Producers Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society have a large presence. Hopcoms is now planning strategies to regain credibility, Shwetha S reports

Shwetha S



Over the past 50 years, Horticulture Producers Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society (Hopcoms) has become a symbol for quality vegetables and fruits. But over the last two months, it is losing credibility as 10 to 12 complaints come every day from customers about price variations in "their" outlets and the bad quality of vegetables and fruits "they" supply.
Inspections in the outlets mentioned by complainants revealed that these outlets were fake although they looked similar to Hopcoms in design, colour and even the name board.
"We were shocked when complaints started pouring in from customers about price variations and poor quality of vegetables and fruits being kept in our shelves. We smelt something fishy and sent a squad to the outlets mentioned by the aggrieved customers to inspect the quality of products and their prices. They found that those were fake outlets which were projecting themselves before the public as Hopcoms units," said chairman of Hopcoms B Munnegowda.
But there is a reason why customers get easily deceived. The buildings where such outlets are housed have the same green colour, and interiors also look similar to those of Hopcoms. Only an observant customer can make out the difference in their name boards. Although these fake outlets carry the same name, they do not carry the logo and the unique number of the Hopcoms.
"There are about 300 fake Hopcoms outlets in the city. They have been set up in places where Hopcoms outlets have a large presence. Most of the complaints come from customers in Indiranagar, Basavanagudi, JP Nagar, and Srinagar," he said.
"We received more complaints during festival time when fake outlets raised the prices of fruits and vegetables. Festival or no festival, the rates in our outlets are fixed. We have decided to change the colour of our outlets to cream and pink for the outer wall and yellow for interiors," he said.
"Already about 75 outlets in the city have been painted anew. We have also started pasting posters at all city outlets alerting our customers to make sure they take a receipt soon after buying vegetables and fruits. We have also installed electronic weighing machines in most of the outlets. Once the customer buys any product, it will give the receipt automatically with details about its price and quantity," he said.
"The whole system will be computerised. Once we fix the rate of the vegetables and fruits, it will be uniform in all the 298 outlets in the city. So if customers have any complaints, we will be able to address them with a quick glance at the receipts they produce," he said.
"We are already in the process of installing electronic weighing machines in all the 238 Hopcoms outlets in the city. We have also started a new toll-free helpline number for the public to lodge any complaint regarding Hopcoms. The new toll-free helpline number is 18004251850
"In one month, five more Hopcoms outlets will be set up in Chandra Layout, Vijayanagar, and Jayanagar. They will be more
spacious and will have glasses in all the compartments. Any customers can easily walk in and pick up the vegetables and fruits of their choice from these outlets," he said.

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