Hire Purchase Bill needed to protect consumers
– CCAC director
THE Hire Purchase Bill which will offer protection to buyers who use hire purchase agreements is yet to be tabled in parliament, and it should be redrafted before such a process is undertaken.
This is according to Director of the Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission, (CCAC) Dawn Cush, during a presentation on Tuesday, January 22, 2019, at a Guyana Press Association (GPA) lunch-time lecture at Moray House, Camp & Quamina Streets, Georgetown.
Cush noted that repossession can occur, even when a person, who has paid a significant amount towards his/her purchases, defaults on one payment.
Gold miners have long complained of losing millions, pointing out that, after paying more than 50 per cent of the value of their items, they (the items) are repossessed without regard for the sometimes unavoidable hardships the industry faces.
The CCAC Director said the Hire Purchase Bill had been pending even before the current attorney general took office and it may have to be redrafted, since a more contemporary and relevant law may be required.
The rights of consumers are detailed in the Consumer Affairs Act 2011, which outlines in simple terms, the responsibilities of both the supplier and the purchaser of any goods or services.
According to the Act, if or whenever a consumer is dissatisfied with the performance or appearance of a purchase, be it food, electronics/appliances, furnishing, tools, construction materials, interior or exterior décor, clothing or any sundry item such as umbrellas, cookware or jewellery, he/she has the right to return it to the place of purchase and seek redress.
Further, the Act states that before payment is accepted from a purchaser, the supplier has the responsibility to provide to consumers, in English, all information pertaining to the product, e.g. place(s) of manufacture and assembly, brand, guidelines for installation and hazards.
If a supplier fails to provide all necessary information, despite the issuance of warranties, he/she will become liable for any damage to the product or damage/injury caused by the product to persons or property. In fact, this failure is an offence under the law.
Suppliers are also bound, under the law, to issue receipts which must be printed with ink that remains legible for at least 12 months, since they would be used for refunds or legal redress.
Meanwhile, the Act also states that every supplier must comply fully with the principles of Return and Refund.
A consumer may return goods to the place of purchase if the purpose for which the product was bought has changed or ceased to exist. These goods are deemed to be new and fit for re-sale at the original value.
The consumer has the responsibility to return the product, in its original packaging, no later than seven days from the date of purchase, if it was not used, tampered with or treated in a manner to cause it damage.
On return, the consumer has the right to select another item of the same value in lieu of a refund, and the supplier may charge a restocking fee that is less than 10 per cent of the purchase price of the returned item.
At no cost to the consumer, the supplier shall return the receipted payment, or replace the product within 14 days, or repair the defect. In the case of the latter, the supplier must provide the consumer with a temporary substitute of comparable value, until the consumer’s item is repaired or replaced.
No supplier, under any circumstance, is allowed to post notices which state that ‘Goods are not Returnable’, or that No Refunds would be given for Returned Items. Such is a contravention of the law.