With the use of online shopping vastly expanding, the Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC) has taken up the task of expanding its mandate to protect customers who use this market.
This was revealed by the Director of the Commission, Dawn Holder-Cush, during the Guyana Press Association’s (GPA) first Lunch Time Lecture on Tuesday, at Moray House, Camp Street, Georgetown.
The Director was at the time responding to a question posted by this publication when she revealed that an Electronic Transaction Bill is currently being prepared to be presented to Cabinet next Tuesday, which is intended to protect the rights of customers who shop online.
“I was asked to do some consultations and we have an Electronic Transaction Bill which will go before Cabinet next week Tuesday,” she said.
Holder-Cush was skeptical to divulge information on the contents of the bill, but promised to engage the GPA during the consultation phase.
The Commission which falls under the Business Ministry will now bear this responsibility although it previously fell within the boundaries of the Public Telecommunications Ministry.
Back in December it was highlighted that the CCAC had no provisions in place to protect such customers although the number of persons rushing to the online markets have spiked.
This was at the time confirmed by the Public Relations Officer of the Commission, Allison Parker during an interview with this publication.
As pointed out by her, the Consumer Affairs Act only provides guidelines for electronic sale transactions locally.
This means that persons who source items online from overseas suppliers have no rights if an item arrives and does not meet the specification.
CCAC said “The Consumer Affairs Act does not provide jurisdiction for cross border e-commerce”.
With regards to legislation, the Consumer Affairs Act states that “The Minister may, after consultation with the Commission, make regulations for the purpose of protecting consumers in relation to electronic sale transactions”.
Persons have many a time complained of sourcing items from online stores only to receive, in some cases, a differently put together item, when it comes to clothing, makeup, accessories and even electronics.
Meanwhile, when it comes to other complaints in the areas of electronics, appliances, vehicles and others the Commission said it has received a total of 289 complaints for 2018 which valued $91,868,324, from customers who were unable to get value for their dollar.
These figures however only cover items that were sourced locally as no provisions are made in the legislation to protect the rights of customers who source items from overseas.