The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) has secured over $5 million on behalf of aggrieved consumers, for the first six months of the 2012/13 financial year, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dolsie Allen, has disclosed.
In an interview with JIS News, Mrs. Allen said the sum was for the settlement of 849 complaints received, representing a 75 per cent resolution rate.
She noted that the most frequent complaints filed were in the categories of motor vehicles, particularly the used car dealers; electrical equipment; and appliances and utilities.
Mrs. Allen encouraged consumers to exercise prudence, when disposing of funds on such "high value investments," and stressed the need for individuals to ensure that they secure the services of a certified or experienced mechanic to examine vehicles and check for defects, or any other problem, before purchasing.
The CEO also advised consumers to shop around and go to several car marts to check out prices, the type of vehicle and, most importantly, the terms and conditions of the contract, before making a purchase.
She also pointed to the need for persons to ask about warranties, especially on high value items, and the applicable conditions.On the matter of promotions and advertising, the CEO warned consumers not to be lured into purchasing items that they do not need.
"When you see these lovely ads…sale here and discount there, do the Math yourself, as many times what appears to be the deal is not really a deal for you, and many times, as consumers, we get caught up in the excitement and buy things that we really do not need," Mrs. Allen pointed out.
She also urged consumers to utilise the services of the Commission, and arm themselves with the information it provides, in order to make informed and more intelligent decisions when purchasing.
Last financial year, the Commission resolved 1,739 of the 1,960 complaints it received, representing an 89 per cent resolution rate, while securing $12.9 million on behalf of aggrieved consumers.
The CAC has pledged its commitment to keep consumers informed on their rights and responsibilities and assist them in obtaining redress when necessary.
The CAC is the national agency responsible for consumer advocacy. It was established to promote fair and honest business practices, by investigating alleged violations of consumer protection laws, by taking legal action to stop unfair or deceptive practices in the marketplace, and by educating consumers and businesses regarding their respective rights and obligations.
For further information on consumer-related issues or queries, persons can call the CAC at 978-4998, visit their website: www.cac.gov.jm or facebook page, www.facebook.com/cac.gov.jm.