JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) is reporting that it secured $30.5 million on behalf of aggrieved consumers during the 2013/14 financial year.
  • CEO of the CAC, Dolsie Allen, highlighted that the most frequent complaints filed were in the categories of electrical equipment and appliances.
  • CAC continued to conduct surveys to provide updated information on market prices and carried out 28 exercises involving grocery, petrol, hardware, textbook and agricultural products.

The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) is reporting that it secured $30.5 million on behalf of aggrieved consumers during the 2013/14 financial year.

It also settled 1,229 of the 1,499 complaints received, representing an 82 per cent resolution rate.

Speaking with JIS News, Chief Executive Officer of the CAC, Dolsie Allen, highlighted that the most frequent complaints filed were in the categories of electrical equipment and appliances, accounting for 31 per cent; motor vehicles and parts, 16.5 per cent; utilities, 11.5 per cent, with the remainder being categorized as general and miscellaneous.

“We are seeing a new type of complaint as it relates to the motor vehicle category, as persons have been reporting that they have given their vehicles to be sold by some car dealers and the vehicles are sold, but they are unable to collect the sum for the vehicle. So, we are asking consumers to be on the alert for these types of situations,” the CEO warned.

She noted too, that some 937 persons were given advice or provided with information at their request, and close to 120,000 persons were impacted by the Commission’s outreach and consumer education programmes. There were 433 such activities carried out for the period under review.

The CAC continued to conduct surveys to provide updated information on market prices and carried out 28 exercises involving grocery, petrol, hardware, textbook and agricultural products.

“During the financial year, we also relocated to our new offices at 34 Trafalgar Road, because we wanted to be more visible and accessible to consumers…so we are hoping that our services will be more utilized, since we are now central to the business community and the average consumers,” Mrs. Allen pointed out.

For the 2014/15 financial year and beyond, she said the Commission will continue to educate and sensitise Jamaicans on their rights and obligations in their capacity as consumers, with more focus on some crucial areas.

“We will be doing follow ups with the major telecommunication providers and working more closely in terms of exchanging information and sharing with them on a quarterly basis some of the concerns that are coming in, and engage in more round table discussions as to how we can resolve issues, such as dropped calls and interruption during telephone conversations,” the CEO informed.

Mrs. Allen said that focus will also be placed on the whole matter of data privacy and security, which are issues that were highlighted during the observance of World Consumer Rights Day under the theme: ‘Your Phone, Your Rights’.

The CEO noted too, that the Commission will pay keen attention to the issue of the banking code, and informed that the banks have been responding quite favourably to the suggestions put forward.

“We will be looking at the micro-financing sector, since there has been growth in this area, with a lot of our consumers being engaged in services. So, we need to help them to become knowledgeable about the terms and conditions,” she added.

“We will be trying to have greater partnerships and collaboration with ministries, agencies and groups to see how we can work together to educate consumers and vendors of their responsibilities, because what we want is balance in the marketplace,” Mrs. Allen added.

She urged persons to inform the CAC about anomalies in the marketplace. “Let us know the issues, so we can address them and work together in ensuring that we have a population of vigilant, knowledgeable, discriminating and well-informed consumers,” she said.

For further information on consumer-related issues or queries, persons can call the CAC at toll-free 1-888-991-4470, 906-5425, visit the website at www.cac.gov.jm or facebook page at www.facebook.com/cac.gov.jm.