Consumers Urged to Learn and Exercise Their Rights as They Make Holiday Purchases


The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) is encouraging shoppers to learn and exercise their rights as consumers and practice good money management as they make their holiday purchases. Highlighting shopping tips at a recent JIS Think Tank, Chief Executive Officer of the CAC, Dolsie Allen, emphasized the need for consumers to “be more knowledgeable, discriminating and vigilant” when making purchases and “prepare and adhere to a budget when going shopping.”
She also stressed the need for consumers to demand receipts from vendors. “Very often, especially at this time of the year, persons are so busy that they do not write receipts or they offer bargains where discounts are given but no receipts are provided,” she pointed out.
Receipts, Mrs. Allen said, are proof that an item was purchased and the provision of receipts is also critical if a consumer needs to seek redress. The receipt, she noted further, should have certain basic requirements including the amount paid, date of purchase and description of goods purchased.
As it relates to the refund and return of items, Mrs. Allen advised consumers to be vigilant and find out the policy of stores as it relates to returning an item. “Look out for the illegal ‘no refund, no exchange’ signs,” she said, noting that there are provisions under the Consumer Protection Act “which allow you to take back items and be refunded in an event that something goes wrong.”
Turning to hire purchase arrangements, which are common at this time of the year, Mrs. Allen advised shoppers to “take time out to read and understand the terms and condition of the contract before signing.”
“These documents are normally very long with fine prints and not very friendly to read, but we ask you to take the time out to read, ask relevant questions and get clarification on areas that you do not understand,” she urged.
“It is your right as a consumer and we encourage you to exercise that right. Know exactly what you are getting into before you sign that document as once you sign, you are held or become obliged to adhere to the terms and conditions in the contract,” she warned.
The CAC recommends the following Christmas tips:
. Take advantage of discount stores for novelty, funny gifts.. Be creative- it is time consuming but less expensive.. Ensure that products purchased are of a superior quality, that a warranty is supplied in writing and insist that the delivery date agreed upon is adhered to or seek redress immediately.. Be aware of offers of no down payment, no GCT, and other store promotions, which require you to forfeit some rights in order to win or to be eligible for a free gift.. Be wary of store promotions where you are required to leave your receipt in a box. Your receipt is needed in the event that you have to prove ownership of the item if you later request an exchange, refund or repair of the item or service.For further details and guidelines, contact the CAC at 926-1650-2 or visit the agency’s website at www.consumeraffairsjamaica.gov.jm

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