A Unimer survey for AmCham (Costa Rican – American Chamber of Commerce) shows that 53% of all Ticos purchased pirated products even though 92% surveyed overall agreed that it was wrong.
Respondents to the survey admitted that they bought the products to avoid paying taxes and onerous import fees as well as just to save money. Movies, liquor, cigarettes, video games and tires were among the most popular items bought illegally. Complaints seemed however to arise around the poor quality of pirated movies.
The perception that the practice is wrong rises with the level of education among the respondents: people with college education- 70%, 62% with a secondary level and 56% with those having a primary education. It may be that those with a higher education level can afford to pay official prices. 63% overall believed that street vendors are involved in money laundering smuggling.
90% of Costa Ricans believe that smuggling is very common in the country and 49% believe that normal commercial establishments engage in the practice. They also seem to be aware of particular negative issues with smuggling and pirated products: 32.5% understand that no taxes are collected from these products, 27.3% understand that it stifles growth and development, 26.2% understand that it promotes crime and insecurity and 23.5% realize it promotes drug trafficking through money laundering.
While most Ticos understand that smuggling and buying pirated products are wrong in general they don’t really care. The government extracts onerous import duties and engages in corrupt practices and cronyism so they believe they’re only getting a bit of their own back. Can’t say we blame them.