I would say that they are not, because they keep doing it again and again. Selling fakes and food that already passed the expiration date are just two most obvious types of scam sellers can pull out of their sleeves.
Why do they do it?
Well, greed would probably be the right answer. If the punishment is not discouraging enough, then greed will always win over fear. Also, the authorities seem to be ineffective in controlling whether the sellers uphold the law or not, at least that is the case here in Slovakia. That only encourages these crooks to scam unsuspecting buyers.
Where is the problem?
In my opinion, there are two main problems regarding this matter. First of them is with crooked seller’s lack of conscience. The other problem is the corruption of those whose job is to control whether sellers uphold the law or not. I would bet both my hands that this is a big problem in most countries around the world not just here in Slovakia. Also, the scams shops use are the same around the world.
What is the punishment?
Usually, the seller will have to pay a fine when caught. This fine will differ from country to country. Luckily, it is usually high enough to discourage small shop owners. Sadly, the big “fish” will often make much larger profit than this and so they continue to do it.
In some countries, seller can (or will) lose his/her license and cannot run a shop anymore or even go to prison. This is again discouraging for small shop owners. However, what about the big supermarkets? I have never heard that they would close supermarket after such inspection. Though, it might happen in some countries, it will certainly not happen as often as it should. Its manager will usually get punished, but that’s all. Nothing stops the owners from secretly ordering the new manager to continue in this criminal activity.
To conclude, the punishments for sellers who scam their customers are not harsh enough. My opinion is that this matter should be dealt with without mercy; otherwise the crooked sellers will always choose greed over fear. It is sad that corrupted inspectors participate in these crimes. Controlling shop owners is then ineffective and while some are controlled thoroughly over and over again, others can go on scamming their customers almost without a risk of getting caught.