JIS News

The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) has secured a total of $19.7 million on behalf of aggrieved consumers for the 2008 calendar year, said Chief Executive Officer of the organisation, Dolsie Allen.
In an interview with JIS News, Mrs. Allen informed that the sum was for the settlement of 1,443 of 1,630 complaints received, representing an 88.5 per cent resolution rate.
She noted that the most frequent complaints filed were in the categories of electrical equipment and appliances, accounting for close to 40 per cent of the total; utilities, 13 per cent; motor vehicles and parts, 10.7 per cent; hardware items 6.3 per cent; with the remainder being in the categories of jewellery, clothing, kitchenware, computer and parts.
“We have seen a reduction in the number of complaints received in 2008 compared to 2007, about 200 less complaints,” Mrs. Allen told JIS News, crediting the reduction to the fact that persons were becoming more vigilant and aware of their rights, and exercising greater intelligence in their purchasing decisions.
“There has been an increase in the number of persons calling our offices seeking advice prior to purchase, so this has significantly reduced the need to complain, because persons would have gone armed with the information and the pitfalls that they would normally encounter, they would have been able to have this sorted out long before the purchase has been made,” the CEO pointed out.
She encouraged consumers to “know and stand up for their rights…take the bold step to complain, do it quickly, do not wait for too much time to elapse before you make your complaint, and if you go back to where you purchased the item and have difficulty getting any form of redress, we ask that you call us at the CAC.”
According to Mrs. Allen, the CAC has the mandate to ensure that consumers receive fair settlement of just claims, including compensation for misrepresentation or unsatisfactory service, including the purchase of items that are defective or do not meet the anticipated need or requirement.
She stressed the need for consumers to “take time out to properly examine items for defects and read tip sheets that are provided at furniture and appliance stores, as these can guide you in your purchasing decisions.”
In terms of lodging complaints with the CAC, the CEO informed that this can be done by calling or visiting any of the offices across the island, by post or email.
Mrs. Allen explained that the process of settling complaints included hearing both sides, then negotiating with the parties to reach a favourable settlement and/or redress.
The CAC is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, whose mandate includes educating and sensitising Jamaicans on their rights and obligations in their capacity as consumers; as well as to provide them with useful information that they can utilise in their daily activities at home, school, work, or in the marketplace; and to resolve complaints filed by consumers against providers of goods and services.

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