Check product quality, shop around this Christmas, CAC warns

Monday, December 03, 2018

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The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) is advising citizens to take steps to protect themselves from defective merchandise and inflated prices during the Christmas shopping season.

Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service ( JIS) Think Tank on Friday, chief executive officer at the CAC Dolsie Allen stressed that cosumers should shop around to compare prices, and check product specifications and quality before making purchases, especially with regard to electrical equipment and appliances.

“After doing your research…, shop around because we have a lot of stores that sell the same items. So it is important to identify stores that are more accommodating towards the customer, such as allowing you to try and test your items before leaving the store,” Allen cautioned.

CAC data indicate a nine per cent increase in complaints filed about electrical equipment and appliances this year.

Allen advised too, that shoppers request a detailed receipt upon completing their transactions. She informed that the receipt should include the name of the store, the date of the purchase, a description of the item purchased and the fees attached to the purchase of the item.

“There are a number of stores that are prepared to give you a discount or not to pay the General Consumption Tax, but they will not give you a receipt. If something is wrong with the item, then you will find it difficult to prove that you actually did the purchase, because you have no receipt. So ensure that you receive one,” she pointed out.

Consumers should also pay keen attention to vendors' warranty and return policies Allen advised.

“Be clear on what is covered by the warranty — the length, and what action can void the warrant. For example, if you purchase a product and it needs installation, if the installation is expensive, you are tempted to go and get it free or at a cheaper cost. If things go wrong, then you would have voided the warranty, so ensure you are informed about the terms of the warranty,” she explained.

The CAC also cautioned that shoppers should bear their budget in mind and not get carried away by attractive sale offerings that typically flood the market during the shopping season.

“Especially in the financial world where you will see a lot of advertisements going out, they will seem attractive with lower interest rates and no payment for a period, but we encourage consumers to do the maths before going shopping. Read the contracts before you enter into a transaction. Bear in mind you are making a commitment, therefore, you need to ensure you can afford the payments,” the CAC head urged.

— JIS

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