Increased Settlement of Consumer Cases by CAC


The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) has secured a total of $12.5 million on behalf of aggrieved consumers since the start of the 2008/09 financial year in April, Chief Executive Officer of the Consumer Affairs Commission, Dolsie Allen has disclosed.
Speaking at a JIS Think Tank session held at the agency’s offices on Half Way Tree Road on Tuesday (Dec. 9), Mrs. Allen informed that the sum was for the settlement of 1,015 of 1,163 complaints received, representing an 88 per cent resolution rate.
She noted that the most frequent complaints filed, were in the categories of electrical equipment and appliances, accounting for 30 per cent of the total, followed by utilities, 13 per cent, and motor vehicles and parts, seven per cent.
“We have seen a reduction in the number of complaints coming into our offices, and an increase in calls to the Commission from persons seeking advice. This tells us that people are becoming more aware, more vigilant, (and) more intelligent in their purchasing decisions.they are making use of the information we disseminate from time to time,” Mrs. Allen said.
The CEO pointed out that there has also been an increase in the number of vendors, business persons, and store owners calling the CAC for advice on how best to treat with a particular situation arising, or for reminders on the rights of consumers, and their responsibility as a provider.
Regarding motor vehicle purchases, Mrs. Allen encouraged consumers to exercise prudence, when disposing of funds on such “high value investments”. The CAC head also stressed the need for individuals to ensure that they secure the services of a certified or experienced mechanic to examine vehicles and check for defects or any other existing problem, before purchasing the unit.
She further advised consumers to “shop around, go to several car marts and check out the prices, the type of vehicle, and most importantly, the terms and conditions of the contract, before you make a purchase.”
Meantime, several complaints were also filed in the furniture and appliance category, which, according to Mrs. Allen, was an indication that persons do not take the time to properly examine items for defects. In light of this, she underscored the need for consumers to read tip sheets that are provided at furniture and appliance stores, “as these can guide you in your purchasing decisions.”
“We are encouraging consumers to act quickly when things go wrong.do not wait for days to pass or weeks, before making a complaint to the vendor,” Mrs. Allen advised. This, she added, will minimize problems or delays arising, in cases where requests are made for exchanges or refunds.
Mrs. Allen appealed to consumers to be mindful of their rights and “take more care in their shopping decisions.”
The CAC is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment, and Commerce, whose mandate includes educating and sensitizing Jamaicans on their rights and obligations in their capacity as consumers; as well as to provide them provide the with useful information that they can utilize in their daily activities at home, school, work, or in the marketplace; and to resolve complaints filed by consumer complaints against providers of goods and services.

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