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Story Highlights

  • The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) is reporting that it has so far secured $32.5 million on behalf of aggrieved consumers for the 2014/15 financial year.
  • It also settled 919 of the 1,138 complaints received, representing an 81 per cent resolution rate.
  • Chief Executive Officer of the CAC, Dolsie Allen, informed that the most frequent complaints filed were in the categories of electrical equipment and appliances.

The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) is reporting that it has so far secured $32.5 million on behalf of aggrieved consumers for the 2014/15 financial year.

It also settled 919 of the 1,138 complaints received, representing an 81 per cent resolution rate.

Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, on December 10, Chief Executive Officer of the CAC, Dolsie Allen, informed that the most frequent complaints filed were in the categories of electrical equipment and appliances, accounting for 34 per cent; motor vehicles and parts, 14 per cent; utilities, nine per cent, with the remainder being categorized as general and miscellaneous.

She noted too, that some 492 persons were given advice or provided with information at their request, and close to 66,000 persons were impacted by the Commission’s outreach and consumer education programmes.

There were 261 such activities carried out for the period under review, including exhibitions, tradeshows and workshops.

The CAC continued to conduct surveys to provide updated information on market prices and carried out 21 exercises involving grocery, petrol, hardware, textbook, banking and school expenses.

The CAC’s website accommodated over 25,000 visits and recorded some 33,000 downloads.

For the rest of the financial year and beyond, the CEO 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 conducting more sensitization awareness sessions with consumers and re-emphasizing their rights and responsibilities, while utilizing technology such as SMS system (short message service) and Consumer Chat to convey information to consumers,” Mrs. Allen said.

The CEO added  that focus will also be placed on ascertaining consumer patterns and market behaviour in other jurisdictions to prepare consumers for full participation in the logistics-centred economy.

“Our research will inform our Jamaican consumers as to what to expect as we want the normal, everyday person to understand the significance of this type of economy,” the CAC head pointed out.

She noted too, that keen attention will be placed on the Security Interest in Personal Property (SIPP) Act and the Credit Bureau, with terms being simplified and explained, so that the ordinary consumer can understand the implications and conditions in utilising these systems and loan facilities.

“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 said.

“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.

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