Electronic service providers top list of consumer breaches – CAU
A recent survey by the Consumer Affairs Unit (CAU) has shown that electronic service providers top the list of business guilty of consumer breaches.
As stated by CAU, the Electronics Industry was prominent in the list of complaints, accounting for 41% of the total received. The majority (84%) of these complaints were due to Part IV Section 22 (Return of defective goods) being contravened. This, it was noted, 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.
Moreover, reports about cellular phones were the most dominant within this category, accounting for 42% of electronic complaints. In an effort to minimize these complaints, the Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC) says it will continue to collaborate with the Bureau of Standards.
While a marginal reduction of 7% was seen, the Auto Industry had the second highest number of complaints and accounted for 77% of the cumulative value of complaints. This, the survey revealed, continues to be an issue of grave concern, as 61% of reported complaints was due to the contravention of Part IV-Section 22 (Return of defective goods), while 28% were due to the contravention of Part V–Section 31, (Misleading or deceptive conduct).
To mitigate this issue, the Commission collaborated with the Bureau of Standards and accepted a request from International Consultant and Director of Excellence in Automobile Assessment (EAA) in Japan, Mr. Lee Sayer.
A visit was made to Guyana to conduct a conclave with various stakeholders involved in the importation of vehicles. The purpose of the meeting was to facilitate the discussion of a Pre-shipment Inspection programme for used vehicles being imported from Japan.
The Consumer Affairs Unit continues to engage in research as it relates to the execution of such a programme in Guyana. Additionally, the CAU will work along with the GNBS to regularize the sector with the development of a “Used Vehicle Standard.”
Finally, the Appliance Industry accounted for 10% of complaints while the remaining 30% of complaints were spread across other industries.
For the financial year 2018, the Consumer Affairs Unit received two hundred eighty nine (289) complaints with an aggregate monetary value of $91,868,324. The complaints increased by 22% when compared to 2017 while the value decreased by 25%. Of these complaints, 90% were product-based while the remaining 10% were service-based.
Out of a total of 289 consumer breaches for 2018, Region Four has recorded an alarming 212, according to CAU. The lowest cases of consumer breaches were recorded in Region Nine, where only one case was reported.
Highlights on the status of complaints received for 2018 showed that despite reflecting a percentage change of 5% when compared to 2017, a notable 79% of complaints received were resolved, equivalent to a value of $59,857,075.
17% of the complaints are ongoing, which is primarily due to the unwillingness of some suppliers to comply, consumers’ lag in providing relevant information or the extent of diagnosis that has to be conducted to determine who is liable. Additionally, 62% of the ongoing complaints were received during the last quarter of 2018.
The remaining 4% were sent to the board for a resolution to be determined for 229 complaints resolved; suppliers were liable for a significant 64%, with an accumulated value of $25,525,724. This value represents the cost of the item and does not take into account pre-redress financial detriment. The remaining 36% were as a result of either consumer liability, no liability (undetermined or consumer chose to no longer pursue the case) or the item not being defective.