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A total of 424 cases were investigated by the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) last year, with 266 being completed and closed, a resolution rate of 63 per cent.
Some 209 complaints were also received during the 2009/10 fiscal year with 59 complaints received for the telecommunications industry; 26 for household appliances and supplies; 20 for motor vehicles; 18 for financial and insurance services; 15 for real estate and construction; 15 for education; eight for the professional services sector; six for the transportation sector; five for government services and 37 and for other categories.
This is outlined in a Ministerial Report, which was tabled in the House of Representatives recently by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda.
During the year under review, the FTC began conducting a study of the commercial banking sector. The objectives are: to characterise the costs which are likely to be faced by consumers in switching from one bank to another; and to characterise the extent of information asymmetry on the part of consumers of retail banking.
“To facilitate this study, the FTC has submitted a research proposal to the Internal Development Research Centre for a grant of Can.$40,000. The proposal has been short listed for one of the competitively awarded grants,” the Report states.
Meanwhile, for the 2010/11 fiscal year, the FTC intends to undertake industry studies to demonstrate the benefits of competitive markets to promote a better understanding of the role and function of the FTC; continue to advise policy makers on the implications of existing and proposed policies; and streamline and improve internal processes to enhance the delivery of services to internal and external customers.
The FTC was established in 1993 to administer the Fair Competition Act, which was enacted in March 1993. The Fair Competition Act provides for the maintenance and encouragement of competition in the conduct of trade, business and in the supply of services in Jamaica.