Consumers Affairs recovers $104M for disgruntled shoppers

The number of complaints to the Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC) went up sharply last year with the auto industry dominating.

One of the largest numbers of complaints from consumers to the CCAC came from auto industry.

According to the body, its campaign to encourage behaviour change in consumers and suppliers has been bearing fruit.
Consumers’ demand their rights and redress along with suppliers’ compliance with the Consumer Affairs and Competition and Fair-Trade Acts.
Both the Consumer Affairs and the Competition Policy Units boast of a successful 2019.
During 2019, the Commission disclosed that it received 586 consumer complaints involving $165,847,551.
“This amount reflects a 103% increase in the number of complaints and 81% increase in the value of complaints when compared with the previous year 2018.”
In fact, CCAC said, complaints against Fly Jamaica accounted for 206 of the 586 complaints, which was about 35% for the year.
“Fly Jamaica has since filed for bankruptcy and the cases have been referred to their trustee to be added to their list of creditors. Complaints against Fly Jamaica therefore account for 85% of the ongoing 242 complaints.”
Excluding figures from Fly Jamaica cases, the Consumer Affairs Unit successfully resolved 341 or 90% of the remaining 380 complaints valued at $104,265,518.
Three cases or one percent has been referred to the Commission’s Board for hearing.
The Commission said that auto and airline industries dominated the list of complaints, whereas the auto industry accounted for the highest value of complaints- $75, 794,605.
It was also disclosed that CCAC inspected several businesses in Regions Two, Three, Four, Seven and Ten for their compliance with the Consumer Affairs Act.
“Of those inspected, 85% were non-compliant. This was mainly attributed to many businesses claiming that they were unaware of the duties of the supplier under the Consumer Affairs Act. These businesses will be re-inspected early this year to ensure that they correct the contraventions.”
The Commission also presided over a price fixing case against the Shipping Association of Guyana (SAG) fining the SAG individual membership $3,843,000 each for breaches under the Competition and Fair-Trading Act.
The Competition Policy Unit also conducted a study into the operations of the cost of the JFK, New York to Georgetown airline route.
The report was completed and its findings were published late 2019.
The Commission said it will also continue its efforts in 2020 to raise awareness for consumers and suppliers.
The Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC) was established in 2006 and became fully operational in 2010.

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