Friday, 12 June 2015

Editor's Review – MyKira GST App

With the implementation of GST, most of us are afraid that we might be overcharged by unscrupulous traders. Fear not!  The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry is here to help! (well, sort of). The Ministry has introduced a phone app that enables consumers to check the price of goods before they purchase, the app is called MyKira and it is available in Google Play.

Here’s the low-down of the app after trying it out myself.

The home screen is pretty straightforward, you have to key in compulsory information such as product name, weight or unit numbers, price and store name. There is an option to key in the old price of the item, which is optional. There is another option for location, which automatically detects your location. Finally, there's also a mostly unnecessary map.

The app’s home screen


The app is only able to verify items that are in its database, basically there would be a drop down list once you key in certain key words. Currently, there are a total of 10,000 items listed in its database. Once you have keyed in the necessary information, the app tells you whether or not the item's price is "within range" or "out of range".

 Sadly, there’s no price recommendation

If the item is priced "out of range", users can file complaints via the e-Aduan link on the result page. However, the page it takes you to is a long and complicated web form that is not optimised for mobile phones. The information you've previously keyed in for the product is also not automatically entered either.
  
But the most unhelpful part of the results page is that the actual recommended price range is not stated, so you wouldn't know exactly how overpriced the item is.
  

Having said that, the list of 10,000 items is far from complete. For example, for the Clorox brand, only one it's item is listed, as shown by the image below, which ironically it isn’t the bleach solution we're all familiar with. On top of that, vegetables, meat and poultry products are not in the list. But interestingly, I was able to find home appliances such as toasters, rice-cookers and shavers, from major brands such as Phillips, Kenwood and Panasonic.

Only limited items are available

Finally, we get to the GST in the app's name. While it was launched to allay consumer fears of retailers overcharging for goods, there's actually nothing about the app that directly deals with the GST, not even a simple 6% calculator. Here’s a summary of the Pros and Cons of the app.

Pros:
Free, 
Checking prices at your fingertips.

Cons:
Only available for Android devices, 
No price recommendations, 
Limited database.

Final verdict:
Overall, the app is pretty user friendly and it is good to know whether you are not overpaying for an item. However, the unavailability of the app for IOS and Windows Phone, no recommended price listing and limited items to check on, makes this app somewhat lacking and there is room for improvement.

Personal Thank You:
To my Dad, for lending me one of his Android devices. J

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