Most customers being exploited in electronics sector – CAU

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With the use of technology and electronics expanding rapidly by the day, the Consumer Affairs Unit (CAU) is urging customers to be very careful when making such purchases, and to keep their receipts as the electronics industry accounted for a whopping 41 per cent of the total complaints received by the Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC) last year.

This was revealed in the Unit’s annual report recently released to the media.

According to the Commission, it received 289 complaints in 2018, the majority of which was dominated by the electronics industry. Further, most of those complaints resulted from defective goods being unreturnable.

“The majority (84 per cent) of these complaints were due to Part IV — Section 22 (Return of defective goods) being contravened. This can be linked to the growing ease of accessibility to these products, which consequently leads to them being more susceptible to fraudulent and misleading practices,” the Unit explained.

It was keen to note that while electronics cover products such as tablets, cellular phones, laptops and other devices, most of the reports were as a result of defective cell phones being sold.

To address the issue, the Consumer Affairs body said it will continue to collaborate with the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) to ensure products being sold to customers are of maximum high quality.

Following the electronics sector was the auto industry, which recorded the second highest number of complaints received at the Commission.

When the figures from 2018 were compared with figures from the previous year, there was, however, a decline in the number of such complaints. A seven per cent decline was recorded, CCAC said in its report. However, those complaints accounted for 77 per cent of the cumulative value of all complaints the consumer body recorded.

“While a marginal reduction of 7 per cent was seen, the Auto Industry had the second highest number of complaints, and accounted for 77 per cent of the cumulative value of complaints. This continues to be an issue of grave concern, as 61 per cent of reported complaints were due to the contravention of Part IV – Section 22 (Return of defective goods), while 28 per cent were due to the contravention of Part V – Section 31 (Misleading or deceptive conduct),” the report details.

In tackling this issue, the Commission said it has collaborated with the GNBS and has already accepted a request from international consultant and Director of Excellence in Automobile Assessment (EAA) in Japan, Lee Sayer.

Sayer has so far held meetings with stakeholders involved in the importation of vehicles during a visit to Guyana.

The Consumer Department said the meeting was focused on facilitating discussions on a pre-shipment inspection programme for used vehicles being imported from Japan.

The Unit said it would continue to engage in research geared at achieving a safer market for consumers.

Further, it said it would continue working with the GNBS to regularise the auto industry with the development of a “Used Vehicle Standard”.

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