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CONSUMER

Sweden second most expensive EU country

Sweden is the second most expensive country in the European Union, according to a new report by the statistical office Eurostat.

Sweden second most expensive EU country

Goods and services in Sweden are some 28 percent above the union average, making it the second most expensive country to live in the EU’s 27 member countries.

The most expensive country is neighbouring Denmark, where prices come in some 42 percent higher than the EU average.

The cheapest shopping in the EU is in Bulgaria where a visit to a store will cost around half as much as the union average, according to Eurostat’s price index.

Sweden comes out top with regard to prices for clothes, shoes and transport services, coming in between 30 and 40 percent above the average.

Sweden is also among the most expensive when it comes to alcohol and tobacco prices, coming in at 147 percent of the EU average.

Ireland however tops the list in this category, at 163 percent of the union average, while Hungary is the cheapest with 63 percent. The wild variations are mostly to do with the relative levels of taxation.

Sweden furthermore has some of the most expensive restaurants and hotels in the EU, with prices at an average of 147 percent of the union average, trailing only Denmark.

Some solace is provided for Swedish consumers however, with communications services among the cheapest in the European Union.

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SURVEY

Swedish consumers ‘less happy’ in 2011

Swedish consumers were less satisfied in their relation to companies, organizations and government agencies in 2011 than in 2010, according to a new report from the quality measurement organization Svenskt Kvalitetsindex (SKI), thereby breaking an increasing “happiness-trend” which had been going strong since the 1990s.

According to the survey, Swedes are the happiest with banks and pharmacies while power grids and transport came in low on the list.

Within dentistry and health care, private actors got better ratings overall than their publicly-run counterparts.

However, within the elderly care sector, the municipality-run homes had more happy customers than those run by the private sector.

According to SKI, the nursing home scandals over the last few months have led to a decline in the number of customers satisfied with elderly care in Sweden

The study also showed that customers who had been in personal contact with a supplier were happier with their service than those who hadn’t.

However, one area with definite room for improvement is company complaints services.

SKI noted in their study that a higher number of complaints doesn’t have to equal a higher number of unsatisfied customers.

The key, they wrote, is how the company deals with their complaints service, as the study showed that an efficient treatment of complaints seem to be enough for Swedes to compensate for the need to complain in the first place.

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