“It is illegal to display no refund signs” – Consumers Affairs Commission to business owners



The Competition and Consumers Affairs Commission (CCAC) has warned businesses that the no refund, no return policy is an offence contrary to the Consumers Affairs Act.

In a recent notice, the CCAC warned suppliers that “it is illegal to display no refund signs and to engage in the practice of not offering refunds.”

It has also advised consumers that they have up to seven days to return non-defective items. The notice said that items must be unused, not tampered with, and in their original package.

The notice further said that customers can be charged up to a 10 per cent restocking fee and that defective items can be returned anytime during the warranty period.

Section 21 (2) of the Act states that a consumer may return goods if the purpose for which the goods were bought or intended to be used has changed or ceased to exist immediately after the goods were bought. Section 22 of the Act outlines the process for returning defective goods.

To receive a refund or to return a good, consumers must have sufficient proof of purchase.

When a supplier sells goods or services, it must provide the consumers with a receipt setting out the purchase price and value-added tax separately; the date the purchase was made; and a description of the goods sold or services provided. The receipts shall be legible for 12 months.

The statute also mandates that suppliers shall issue a standard and explicit warranty in relation to goods sold or services provided to consumers. A warranty is an assurance or commitment by the supplier or manufacturer that in the event the product becomes defective, a form of redress is offered during the warranty period. Warranties must be for at least six months.

Between January to June 2021, the CCAC reported that it received complaints across 19 categories, the lead being in the electronics/electronic services, auto industry, and appliance and construction industry.

During that period, it received 269 complaints valued at $119,942,369 from consumers; this reflects a 180 per cent increase when compared to the same period in 2020.

The functions of the CCAC include, among other things, investigating complaints by agencies and consumers; providing information to consumers on their rights and enabling them to make informed choices; and instituting, participating in, and/or supporting proceedings before a court of law, including to bring prosecutions where the Commission deems fit.

Consumers can file complaints against defaulting businesses via CCAC e-complaint form at https://ccac.gov.gy/. Contact can also be made with its offices in Georgetown and Linden on 219-4410-13 and 444-6411. In-person visits are also welcomed.