The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC)is urging consumers to exercise due diligence when making their purchases during the Yuletide season.
Speaking at a JIS Think Tank on Wednesday, (December 11),the agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Dolsie Allen, said that consumers should demand receipts when making transactions.
“Ask for a proper receipt, not just a listing tape. If you are made an offer for a lower price with the condition that you don’t get a receipt, then that is a red flag. If there is something wrong with the item and you don’t have a receipt, then there is no way to prove that you made that purchase at the particular place,” she explained.
Mrs. Allen also cautioned consumers to ask about the return policy of a vendor before finalising a transaction.
“Find out what happens if it doesn’t work; get the details on what their policy is before leaving the business place. Some stores say no refund or exchange. That is not illegal; however, the Consumer Protection Act supersedes all those stores’ policies if the item does not work,” she noted.
The CAC CEO further encouraged consumers to ensure they are aware of the length of the warranty on items purchased.
“It is extremely important to ask about warranty,especially on high-value items such as electronics. There are times when the warranty is included in the packaging, but the vendor doesn’t offer that level of warranty. You should insist on it as the Consumer Protection Act speaks specifically to the warranty being extended by the manufacturer to the consumer,” she said.
Mrs. Allen said that consumers should be wary of business places that offer one to five-day warranty. She noted that consumers have a right to seek a replacement of “free gifts” received with purchases.
“Many times, those free gifts don’t work very well. The gift is a part of your purchase, so if it is that you got a free radio and you know it’s not working, then you need to take it back. Some persons will say ‘it is a free gift’, but it was taken into consideration when they determined the price at which they were selling it, so you have a right to seek redress,” she pointed out.
Director of Communications at the CAC, Latoya Halstead, also urged consumers to query the terms and conditions when purchasing gift vouchers for their loved ones during the Christmas season.
“Ensure that you know what the store’s policy is. Some gift vouchers state what the expiry date is and some don’t. If it doesn’t state, ask so that you don’t lose your money and the person whom you intend to benefit from the voucher will not lose the chance to use it,” she said.
The CAC is the national agency responsible for consumer advocacy. The organisation secured $18.5 million in refunds and compensation on behalf of aggrieved consumers between January and November.