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Residents updated on consumer rights in Open Day

According to Consumer Affairs Officer Trista Whattley, the Department used the Open Day and Consumer Affairs Week to highlight to the general public the purposes of the department and what assistance could be given to consumers regarding redress.

“The biggest thing that we are trying to do is educate the general public on their rights and responsibilities. What they should know, and how to shop wisely and carefully,” she explained, adding, “When consumers go to a business place and get bad treatment and they have to exchange goods that are damaged or expired, we help them to get redress,” the consumer affairs staff explained.

“One thing we try to educate persons to do is to save their receipts, because that is a legal document to say that they did make the purchase,” added Whattley.

She noted that many of the complaints received by the department primarily have been about bad and unfair treatment being meted out, while others have lodged complaints about faulty products that were purchased from popular businesses in Basseterre.

She pointed out that there are laws in place to govern against the sale of faulty products to consumers.

“Some do complain that they purchase shoes and when they walk down the road the heels came off or the shoes would break.  So that is something that is our biggest challenge… But our laws say that you can’t expect to purchase a shoe for $150 and the shoe heel comes off. Something has to be wrong,” exclaimed Whattley.

In several instances, she said, the department was able to gain monetary compensation or have the faulty good replaced.

However, understands that the department is seeking to have the Act updated so that it can be more enforceable to reduce the need for the Consumer Affairs body to seek legal actions on behalf of the customer.

Several schools took time out to visit the department and to have questions answered.

This year, the department celebrated World Consumer Rights day on 15th March, with a church service that ushered in a week of activities for the department culminating with the open day.

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