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JIS News

As the yuletide season nears, the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) is reminding merchants and shoppers to observe the provisions under the Consumer Protection Act.
The Act provides for redress and or sanctions on behalf of consumers, who provide evidence to the CAC that they have been wronged. The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) also empowers the CAC to hold extra-judicial hearings in the event that no amicable settlement has been reached.
Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank session, Chief Executive Officer of the CAC, Dolsie Allen highlighted some of the implications of the Act stating it “has set out certain basic requirements that vendors should offer to their customers”.
The CEO made specific reference to sections of the Act that speak to pricing and receipts. She pointed out that the CPA stipulated that all information should be provided in English and the consumer be provided with the means to check measurements where this affected or determined price.
Mrs. Allen stressed the need for consumers to demand receipts from vendors. Receipts are proof that an item was purchased adding that the provision of receipts was also critical if a consumer was to seek redress. Receipts, she maintained, should have certain basic requirements including the amount paid, date of purchase and description of goods purchased.
Mrs. Allen asserted that with the implementation of the CPA, “receipts without these basic requirements are illegal and vendors are to ensure that they have valid receipts with the basic information.”
Mrs. Allen also made reference to Sections 28-35 of the Act, which speaks to Misleading and Deceptive Conduct, False Representation and Unfair Practices. These sections, she outlined “place an obligation on the vendor to honour advertised or contracted delivery dates”.
She emphasized the need for vendors to have in abundance those goods that were advertised as being ‘on sale’ or at a specific price, adding that the period of offer, quantities in supply, and the size of the market to which the goods were being offered, should be taken into account in these circumstances.
The CEO emphasized the importance of consumers knowing their rights and revealed that the CAC has been making presentations at schools, business places, staging expositions and producing brochures and other materials in an effort to disseminate information to consumers about the Act and other consumer matters.
She noted that the CAC would continue to host workshops for persons involved in the trade of goods and services with a special package to be put together for vendors in the downtown Kingston area.Meanwhile, Mrs. Allen said that the Commission was allotting time to vendors, who will have to retool and make the necessary adjustments to meet the requirements of the CPA and other consumer-related policies. This time, she stated, would serve as a grace period before fines were imposed on those who did not comply.
The CEO clarified that the CAC’s aim “is not to take people to court but to put measures in place with the hope that individuals will comply with the laws that exist.” She further pointed out that the fines stipulated in the Act were “very hefty, ranging from $50,000 to $2 million.”
“We do not intend to collect; what we want is compliance,” she reiterated, noting that vendors should not “see the CPA as a weapon but as the new customer service manual.”