Consumer Watchdog Sees No Sense in Bottled Water Prices

      March 21, 2012 10:33

      A 100 ml bottle of imported water is up to 185 times more expensive than Korean water, and prices differ up to 4.1 times depending where it is sold. If water from the same source and manufacturer is sold under different brand names, the price difference can rise up to 5.6-fold.

      These are the findings of a price survey of bottled water sold in department stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, movie theaters, bakeries and coffee shops in Seoul on Feb. 21-22 and March 5-7 by Consumers Korea. The private watchdog said Tuesday it compared the prices of 731 water bottles (including 290 imported) of 95 brands (including 45 imported brands) sold in 66 outlets.

      Imported water was 74 to 185 times more expensive than Korean brands. The most expensive brand was Evian natural mineral water selling for W3,333 (US$1=W1,125) per 100 ml at the Yeongdeungpo branch of Shinsegae Department Store.

      Movie theaters, coffee shops and convenience stores put heftier price tags on water. There was a 5.6-fold difference in the price of 100 ml bottled water from the same source and same manufacturer, depending what brandname it carried and where it was sold.

      The watchdog urges consumers to compare prices first given the massive differences. It also called for a better pricing system, saying it is "absurd that shops even in the same neighborhood sell bottled water from the same source at different prices."

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