| AFP | 2013-4-2 21:58:01
New Zealand's consumer watchdog has launched a crackdown on rogue traders ripping off tourists from Asia by selling them fake goods at a vastly inflated prices.
One company imported alpaca rugs worth $1,600 each before re-labeling them as New Zealand products and selling them to unsuspecting package tourists for up to $8,000 apiece.
Another firm admitted selling duvets containing "100 percent New Zealand merino lamb wool" for up to $1,000 when they knew the product was not merino wool and was worth only about $70.
Two companies and two individuals have been convicted and fined a total of NZ$259,000 ($217,000) for targeting tourists from the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and South Korea, New Zealand's Commerce Commission chairperson Mark Berry said Tuesday.
A total of eight firms and seven individuals have so far been charged with mis-selling high-priced souvenir items.
The tourists "paid significantly more" for items such as alpaca rugs and merino or alpaca duvets than they were actually worth, Berry said.
"To sell items as New Zealand made when they are not, or knowingly label and sell items as 100 percent alpaca when they are not, is deliberately misleading buyers."
Tourism is a key sector of the New Zealand economy with international tourists providing 18 percent of the country's export earnings in 2010.
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