JIS News

The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) has secured $11.1 million on behalf of aggrieved consumers, for the first quarter of the 2009/10 financial year, the Commission’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dolsie Allen, has disclosed.
In an interview with JIS News, Mrs. Allen said that the sum was for the settlement of 499 of 900 complaints received, representing a 55 per cent resolution rate.
“This resolution rate is typical of the first quarter of the financial year and, as time progresses, the resolution rate will increase,” she pointed out.
She also noted that the most frequent complaints filed were in the categories of motor vehicles and their parts, electrical equipment, appliances, furniture and utilities.
Regarding motor vehicles and parts, Mrs. Allen said that, of the total sum collected for the period, $8.8 million was for accumulated refunds and compensation from the automotive industry.
She 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.
She 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.
Several complaints were also filed in the furniture and appliance category which, according to Mrs. Allen, was an indication that persons do not take the time to properly examine items for defects.
In light of this, she underscored the need for consumers to read tip sheets provided at furniture and appliance stores, which can be used as a guide in making purchasing decisions.
“We are encouraging consumers to act quickly when things go wrong, do not wait for days to pass or weeks, before making a complaint to the vendor,” Mrs. Allen advised. She said that this will minimize problems or delays arising, in cases where requests are made for exchanges or refunds.
In terms of outreach and sensitisation, the CEO said that the CAC exceeded its quota of 16,000 persons, as some 19,616 consumers were sensitised during the period, through presentations at schools, businesses and social activities, expositions and mounting of exhibitions.
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.”
“We ask that you call or visit our offices, if you have a challenge with any form of redress that you think you are entitled to. We are living in times where every cent matters, so once you have spent your money, you need to have a level of satisfaction and we (the Commission) can assist in this regard,” Mrs. Allen affirmed.
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.

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