CAC pushing for speedy payout of bad gas compensation

CAC pushing for speedy payout of bad gas compensation


Saturday, May 23, 2020

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AFTER waiting more than four years, Jamaicans whose motor vehicles were damaged by bad gas in late 2015 to early 2016 should begin receiving compensation in a matter of days.

The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) yesterday announced that it has started to make contact with the 381 motorists who have been approved for compensation based on formal complaints they had submitted, and it is now ready to start making payments.

Addressing a virtual media briefing, head of the CAC Dolsie Allen underscored that motorists whose claims were certified by a team established by her agency will be getting an ex gratia payment and not a real settlement.

“Based on the report that was given by the Petroleum Trade Reform Committee there was no one entity, or person, who was culpable as a result of the experience we had in late 2015-2016,” said Allen.

“But we knew from then that something went wrong and…we believed that consumers ought to have received some level of redress from what went wrong with their motor vehicles,” added Allen as she underscored the efforts that were made to arrive at a final settlement of $24.5 million to bring closure to the matter.

According to Allen, the CAC received 423 complaints of which 287 were approved for full payment, 94 were approved for partial payment, and 42 were found to not qualify for any compensation.

Allen said the CAC has already started calling the people who are to be compensated based on the claims that they made, and those individuals are being given dates to make contact with the agency for payment.

“We will be calling each person who submitted a claim and we are going to be telling you what the result of the claim was. Those persons who have been approved, we will give you a date to come in.

“When you are coming in you should take with you…your [Government-issued] identification, your TRN [tax registration number], and we will be asking you to sign an indemnity form. This indemnity form discharges the Consumer Affairs Commission and Petrojam Ethanol Limited of any further claims or liability concerning this particular issue,” noted Allen.

The CAC head said once people agree to what they are scheduled to be paid they will be asked to provide banking information as to where they want the money to be sent.

“And once we have all of that, very soon, within two weeks, you should receive your payment. We will be making payments on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays so it depends on when you come to the office, when you will receive your payments.

“But certainly, it has been a long haul and we really want to get rid of this situation very quickly and put it behind us and move on into other aspects of our work,” said Allen.

The CAC head was unable to say the level of payment to be made to each motorist but minister of state in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Floyd Green told the media briefing that claims ranged from a low of $2,000 to a high of more than $700,000.

Green also underscored that people who failed to submit claims to the CAC before will not be compensated, even if they suffered damage from the bad gas.

“We do know, and based on what we saw happening at the time, there were a number of people who were impacted. Some of them did not file claims and make reports. Unfortunately, now is not the time to do that; that window passed and we will be treating with only those who made claims and submitted documentation,” declared Green.

Between November 2015 and March 2016 scores of motorists across the island suffered damages to their motor vehicles from contaminated gas. Despite a lengthy investigation the source of the contamination was never conclusively determined.

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