Over 50% of businesses violate consumer laws – CAU

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Vendors flying their trade at one of the main shopping districts in the country, Regent Street. [file photo]
Some 50% of businesses are violating consumer laws, according to the Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC).

This is according to findings from a countrywide inspection conducted last year by the Consumer Affairs Unit of the CCAC.

Chief among the breaches of the Consumer Affairs Act were related to the issuance of receipts, return policies and warranty on products.

According to the report, 159 businesses were inspected in Regions 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10.

The report found that although all goods providers are mandated to conform to return policies, a whopping 57% of the inspected businesses failed to adhere to the return policy.
With regards to the issuance of receipts, some 53% issued no receipts to their customers.
In relation to warranties, it was found that 41% of businesses did not offer warranty or did not align with the criteria stated in the Consumer Act.

Businesses which were non-compliant were given one month to correct their flaws.
The inspection officers focused their attention on clothing, footwear and accessories, electronics, appliances, household items, stationery and office supplies as well as hardware and building materials.

“During the initial inspection exercise, 45 per cent of the businesses were in conformance with the Consumer Affairs Act while the majority, 55 per cent of businesses, failed to be in compliance with one or more sections of Part IV – Duties of Suppliers of the CAA,” the Commission reported.

In Region Three, 100% of the businesses were ignorant of their roles as vendors and as a consequence, failed to fulfill their duties.

In Region Four, some 37% of inspected businesses failed to meet their requirements while 63% were compliant.

Meanwhile, in Regions Six and Seven, 56% and 60% of the businesses were respectively compliant.

For the Consumer Affairs Unit, re-inspection is critical if the objective of a safe market for customers is to be achieved. With this in mind, uncompliant businesses were given one month to correct their flaws and an applaudable 65 per cent of re-inspected businesses were able to erase their mistakes.

The Commission said another phase of re-inspections will be conducted in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and Four (Demerara-Mahaica) during the first quarter of this year.

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