How are consumers protected?

Author : teriann

You bought a new item and you are very excited at your purchase. You take it home and to your surprise you realize that it is damaged in some way that detracts from your enjoyment -what should you do? Well there are many factors to consider, for example was the item in good condition when you bought it and was somehow damaged during transit? Did you buy the item on a ‘as is where is” sale ?  Do you have a warranty on the item? What if you realize that you were overcharged for a particular item?

The answers to those questions will dictate your next decision. If you choose to return it to the store, it’s a good idea to determine the store’s policy of returns before attempting that course of action to avoid any unnecessary conflict.  A number of stores have signs that read: ‘No cash return only exchange’.  Other stores allow a limit of specified days that customers are allowed to return items with a valid receipt.

Protect Yourself

It’s always a good idea to check the store’s policy on returns even before you make a purchase, because if the policy seems unreasonable to you then you can choose to shop elsewhere. That can save a lot of hassle in the end if you later encounter a problem with the item. If there is no sign displayed with the policy ask a sales representative what is the store’s policy and if they are unsure, ask to speak with the manager.

What if after doing all that you are not able to get the company to either provide a cash refund or exchange the item?

Customers are entitled a number of rights under the consumer laws in Jamaica such as the right to obtain redress. That does not mean that everyone adheres to them and as a result these breeches cause serious issues for consumers.

It seems that a number of consumers are not aware that they have the means to seek redress when a company renegades on their policy and does not stick to the agreement.   They can go the legal route and get legal representation, however there is a step in between that consumers fail to remember. In order to settle disputes and report companies who flout their on policies, consumers can call the Consumer Affairs Commission.

How to get help

The first step is to either call The Consumer Affairs Commission or fill out a form provided on their website

If you have complained to a vendor about a service or product and the matter was not satisfactorily resolved, the Complaints Department at the Consumer Affairs Commission will be able to help. Through the use of the Consumer Protection Act among other pieces of legislation, the Complaints Department team will seek to resolve your complaint.

If you use the online form. it asks for details such as personal contact details so that they can follow up with you, a description of the complaint, details about the product or service and what steps you had taken to resolve the issue before contacting them. There is also a provision for consumers to upload any relevant documents such as receipts or invoices that will provide evidence for your claim.

Many cases have been resolved by the intervention of The Consumers Affairs Commission with consumers receiving their full refund for faulty products or poor service.

What’s your view? Do you think consumers are protected? Let me hear from you! Drop a line below!

Teri Ann Renee Paisley

Gleaner online writer

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2 Responses to “How are consumers protected?”

  1. Sophia says:

    consumers are not protected, when you use the online form. it asks for details such as personal contact details so that they can follow up with you, and sometimes you will receive some strange informations.

  2. teriann says:

    Hi Sophia thanks for visiting and commenting! I am sorry that you didn’t get an easy access using the online form, perhaps you could call them directly if you have a complaint. Keep visiting the site! We love to hear from our readers.

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