Citizens are being urged by the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) to exercise due diligence in their shopping practices, during the busy Christmas period.
Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank, on November 30, Chief Executive Officer at the CAC, Dolsie Allen, is advising Jamaicans to conduct extensive research before purchasing items, such as electrical equipment and appliances.
“After doing your research… shop around because we have a lot of stores that sell the same items, so it is important to identify stores that are more accommodating towards the customer, such as allowing you to try and test your items before leaving the store,” Mrs. Allen explained.
The CAC data indicate a nine per cent increase in complaints filed about electrical equipment and appliances.
Mrs. Allen advised persons to request a detailed receipt before completing their transactions. She informed that the receipt should include the name of the store, the date of the purchase, a description of the item purchased and the fees attached to the purchase of the item.
“There are a number of stores that are prepared to give you a discount or not to pay the General Consumption Tax, but they will not give you a receipt. If something is wrong with the item, then you will find it difficult to prove that you actually did the purchase, because you have no receipt, so ensure that you receive one,” she pointed out.
Consumers are also being urged to thoroughly read the vendor’s warranty and return policies when making their transactions.
“Be clear on what is covered by the warranty, the length and what action can void the warrant. For example, if you purchase a product and it needs installation, if the installation is expensive, you are tempted to go and get it free or at a cheaper cost. If things go wrong, then you would have voided the warrant, so ensure you are informed about the terms of the warranty,” Mrs. Allen added.
Citizens are also encouraged to examine their ability to pay during the Christmas period, when attractive sale offerings flood the market.
“Especially in the financial world where you will see a lot of advertisements going out, they will seem attractive with lower interest rates and no payment for a period, but we encourage consumers to do the math before going shopping. Read the contracts before you enter into a transaction, bear in mind you are making a commitment, therefore, you need to ensure you can afford the payments,” Mrs. Allen explained.