- The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) has reported that between April and July this year, 804 consumer complaints were resolved, resulting in a refund of approximately $2.17 million to consumers by the business community.
- Research and Communications Officer at the CAC, Racquel Chambers made the disclosure in an interview with JIS News recently.
- She explained that cases considered resolved, were those in which a settlement had been made to the customer's satisfaction or whereby the customer no longer wished to pursue the matter.
The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) has reported that between April and July this year, 804 consumer complaints were resolved, resulting in a refund of approximately $2.17 million to consumers by the business community.
Research and Communications Officer at the CAC, Racquel Chambers made the disclosure in an interview with JIS News recently.
“The cash refund of over $2 million”, she said, “was as a result of the resolution of 804 cases out of a total of 955 complaints, which comprised 723 new cases and 232 carried forward. Miss Chambers, also informed that a large portion on the remaining 151 complaints had been settled and would be reflected in the August figures.
She explained that cases considered resolved, were those in which a settlement had been made to the customer’s satisfaction or whereby the customer no longer wished to pursue the matter. Customers get redress in different forms, such as exchange of the product purchased, repair and rebate.
The cases settled for the four-month period, represented 84.2 per cent of the total number of complaints. Miss Chambers also pointed out that most of the cases were cleared within 10 days of receiving the complaint. “We receive complaints every day and are able to resolve them quickly, most of them within the 10-day period, which we have set ourselves”, she said, adding however, that some could take longer depending on the nature of the case.
Miss Chambers said they expected to resolve some 2,500 cases this fiscal year, with most of them done within the 10-day period.
Last fiscal year, the CAC reported that approximately $6.7 million was refunded, resulting from the resolution of 2,347 cases or 91 per cent of a total of 2,579 complaints handled, in addition to rebates, returns and exchanges, which were negotiated on behalf of aggrieved customers.
A Ministry Paper presented to Parliament on July 17 by Minister of Commerce, Science and Technology, Phillip Paulwell, had said the pending passage of the Consumer Protection Act would help to further reduce the length of time taken to resolve disputes, and that the CAC expected to resolve at least 2,000 complaints within this fiscal year. The document also said, “the CAC’s target would continue to be the resolution of at least 80 per cent of complaints within 10 working days of receiving them, and no less than 80 per cent resolution overall by year-end”.
The Paper said the application of sanctions against vendors, following the promulgation of the Consumer Protection Act, would be supplemented with ongoing programmes geared toward educating consumers and businesspersons. The programme of public education would employ the use of radio and television, including cable, as well as the cinema.
The CAC also operates a website, through which overseas Jamaicans are reached, and last year produced and published seven new brochures, bringing the total number to 48.
The CAC’s consumer education programme is structured around the Charter of Rights of the Consumer and the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection to which Jamaica became a signatory in 1985. The Charter recognises eight basic rights of consumers. These are rights to safety, to choose, to be informed, to be heard, to redress, to satisfaction of basic needs, a healthy environment, and consumer education.
With a budget allocation of $26 million this fiscal year, the CAC has projected to impact 500,000 consumers from the staging of over 100 public education events.