JIS News

The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC), is encouraging shoppers to learn and exercise their rights as consumers and practise good money management, as they make their back-to-school purchases.
Speaking with JIS News, Communication Specialist at the CAC, Dorothy Campbell, emphasised the need for consumers to be more knowledgeable, discriminating and vigilant when making purchases.
“This is important, especially at this time when the volume of purchases is highly unusual and parents are under a lot of pressure to find the finances to fulfil all the needs of their children,” she said.
She encouraged parents to ensure that they get value for their money and are able to get some redress, in the event that they have bought the wrong item, or a substandard one.
“During the rush and excitement that come with back-to-school shopping, persons give away their rights or forget their responsibility as a consumer, until some defective or substandard items find a way into their homes,” Miss Campbell pointed out.
She stressed the need for consumers to demand receipts from vendors, as this is proof that an item was purchased and critical if they need to seek redress.
The receipt, she noted further, should have certain basic requirements, including the amount paid, date of purchase and description of goods purchased.
On the matter of the refund and return of items, Miss Campbell advised consumers to be vigilant and find out the policy of stores, as it relates to returning an item, as there are provisions under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), which allow persons to take back items and be refunded, in the event that something goes wrong.
She cautioned consumers to ensure that items being returned are in the same condition that they were received and that receipts are provided as proof of purchase.
For the return and exchange of textbooks, the Communication Specialist advised that, “when you purchase textbooks, do not be in a hurry to write your child’s name in the books, until you are exactly sure that it is the correct text, as there are cases when persons pick up the wrong edition.”
She pointed out that where books have to be returned, it is left to the discretion of the bookstore to determine whether the item has been returned in a condition to resell.
“As it relates to other items, such as uniforms, shoes and computers, keep your receipts, make sure every bit of information is on them, so you can match back your purchase,” she implored.
Turning to warranties, Miss Campbell cited section 20 of the CPA, which stipulates that there should be a standard provision of a warranty, which states explicitly what is covered and the kind of service being offered.
“If you are not clear when you receive the warranty, do not sign, ask questions.have them explain to you until you understand, get the necessary information before you sign away your rights,” she urged.
The Communication Specialist explained that persons could contact the CAC if there is a problem with something that they have purchased, as it is part of the Commission’s mandate, to seek redress on behalf of the consumer.
“They can come to us and file a complaint about any problem that they might be having. We then, within our gathering of information and investigation, determine whether or not it is a legitimate case and take that case on your behalf. We will be able to get some form of redress in a speedy manner if all parties are working amicably,” she informed.
Miss Campbell encouraged persons to do some research and background checks, prior to engaging in transactions.
“Very often we (the Commission) find that no homework was done but you (the consumer) saw something shiny and new, had the money and went ahead and purchase or you sign a contract which you did not review and after the fact, realise that the fine print has negated some benefits you would have liked,” she highlighted.
“We want consumers to be more responsible… know your rights and exercise your responsibilities. Be informed about how you should deal with the retail industry or wherever you go to get your services, in order to maintain those rights,” Miss Campbell said.