Consumers Urged to Make Wise Purchases this Christmas

Photo: Dave Reid : Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) Chairman, Kent Gammon, speaks at the CAC’s quarterly media briefing at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries in New Kingston.

Story Highlights

  • The Christmas season for many Jamaicans can be a joyous and wonderful time; however, after it has passed, many consumers regret transactions that were done in the marketplace.
  • “When you go and make a very expensive purchase and you think you may have made a wrong choice, you may think that you have been overly influenced by a very crafty vendor. You must be aware of that, and it is something you need to guard against,” he says.
  • Speaking at a recent press briefing at The Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston, Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) Chairman, Kent Gammon, said that among the reasons for regret is buyers’ remorse.

The Christmas season for many Jamaicans can be a joyous and wonderful time; however, after it has passed, many consumers regret transactions that were done in the marketplace.

Speaking at a recent press briefing at The Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston, Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) Chairman, Kent Gammon, said that among the reasons for regret is buyers’ remorse.

“When you go and make a very expensive purchase and you think you may have made a wrong choice, you may think that you have been overly influenced by a very crafty vendor. You must be aware of that, and it is something you need to guard against,” he says.

He encourages consumers to not be overzealous in purchasing products, but to be wise in making decisions before buying.

“Make sure that you can fit it within your budget, because it is very frustrating when you go over your budget and you can’t meet your other expenses as they come along,” Mr. Gammon tells JIS News.

The Chairman is also urging consumers to only buy items that come with warranties, especially when purchasing electrical products.

“You are required by the Consumer Protection Act to have a warranty, so you need to insist on it, and if you do not get one, please let us know in writing and we will certainly pay a visit to that provider. There are sanctions under our Act, because we need to have you protected when you spend your hard-earned money,” Mr. Gammon says.

The Chairman further notes that consumers should ensure that the electrical appliances are working before leaving the store and that they have their receipts, “so that if you have any problems, you have redress”.

For the 2017/18 financial year to date, the electrical equipment and appliances category has generated most complaints, accounting for 34.47 per cent of the total complaints made by consumers.

The CAC is advising consumers to read all labels and manuals carefully; observe the manufacturer’s instructions in the use of any product purchased, as abuse or misuse may void the warranty coverage; ask about return policy and warranty; and to utilise the services of a store or certified electrician if installation is required.

Meanwhile, Director at the National Compliance and Regulatory Authority (NCRA), Orine Henry, says the Authority is partnering with the CAC for the Christmas season to focus on toys, electrical appliances, Christmas lights, processed foods and clothing and shoes in terms of labelling.

“What we are asking consumers to do is to be very careful when they are purchasing toys. Look at the labels and ensure that you take particular care (when looking) at hazard warnings and anything that could cause choking,” Ms. Henry says.

Persons are also being encouraged to get safety gear for items such as bicycles, scooters and skateboards.

As it relates to electrical appliances, consumers are being asked to look at labels to ensure that the manufacturer’s name, number and address are present as well as the serial number for the product and the supply voltage.

“You also look for the approved certification mark, and a popular one is Underwriters Laboratories (UL)… . Once you see that mark, it is saying that the product has been certified,” the Director states.

On another matter, Ms. Henry says consumers should ensure that the Christmas lights that are being purchased have the requisite labelling information and that they are working before leaving the store.

For processed foods, Jamaicans are encouraged to be extremely careful by looking at the labels, ingredient listings, date marks and net quantity declarations.

Ms. Henry adds that persons should purchase their products from reputable sources.

“We are imploring consumers to make sure that you are informed at the point of sale,” she tells JIS News.

The CAC is a fully funded Government agency, which was established to inform, educate and empower consumers to protect themselves in the marketplace.

The Commission conducts market research, provides complaint-resolution services and runs an active consumer-education programme. The CAC operates under the Trade Act of 1955 and the Consumer Protection Act of 2005.

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