Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 16, 2021 (SKNIS): Paul Queeley, Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs, said that the power lies with consumers as they have a set of rights that are governed by the law that allows them to have the necessary information about goods and services while purchasing.
One such right is the right to choose, as the consumer should be able to select from a range of products and services offered at competitive prices with an assurance of satisfactory quality.
“You have the right to choose. You can shop around for the best product, the best price,” said Director Queeley during his April 14 appearance on “Working for You. “What I notice here though is that persons like to complain a lot, but they do not seem to understand the power that they have as a consumer. Because if you are unhappy with a product from one particular establishment you can take your business elsewhere. The business needs you more than you need them. So, we need to stop complaining and exercise our power as a consumer,” he added.
Other rights of the consumer include the right to satisfaction of basic needs which allows the consumer to have access to basic, essential goods and services: adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, education, public utilities, water, and sanitation; the right to safety – as this protects against products, production processes and services which are hazardous to health or life; the right to be informed – consumers deserve the right to be given the facts needed to make an informed choice and to be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising and labeling.
Additionally, consumers have the right to a healthy environment where they can work and conduct business in an environment that is non-threatening to the well-being of present and future generations; they have the right to consumer education which deals with acquiring knowledge and skills needed to make informed, confident choices about goods and services while being aware of basic consumer rights and responsibilities and how to act on them, as well as the right to redress which is having their complaints heard and addressed.
Equally important, Mr. Queeley said that businesses also play an important role.
“Businesses as well have their part to play in giving information to the consumer because at times a business might have things to sell or they might put it on sale, but they might not indicate to the consumer to let them know it is about to expire so buy it at your own risk and they would allow the consumer to purchase the item…,” he said, adding that consumers must always inquire why an item is on sale.
Mr. Queeley encouraged businesses and consumers to work together as there is that balance between businesses trying to make a profit and consumers seeking value for money.