Consumers Encouraged to File Complaints in Violation of Rights

Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 18, 2016 (SKNIS): Consumers in St. Kitts and Nevis who become displeased with a particular good or service are encouraged to address their complaints in an orderly manner.

This advice was given by Vincent Fough, Consumer Affairs Investigating Officer, who was the guest on this week’s edition of Working for You. His appearance on the television/radio programme formed part of the week of activities held in commemoration of Consumer Rights Day which falls on March 15 every year.

He told consumers that they are well within their rights to file complaints.

“As a consumer, if you have to ever file a complaint, or if you have a discrepancy with either purchasing stuff or services, address it in an orderly manner,” Mr. Fough said. He went on to explain that most consumers because they are spending their money may have the tendency to become angry very quickly. But then approaching the matter from the seller’s perspective, he noted that there may not be a quiet settlement if they feel disrespected. He said that in his experience, once the consumer becomes arrogant, the business owner will either also become arrogant or ignore the consumer’s complaint.

The correct procedure for seeking the assistance of Consumer Affairs, pertaining to complaints was outlined.

“The consumer comes, files a complaint, fills out the form,” Mr. Fough said, noting that this is followed by a visit to the establishment where the alleged incident took place. He said that quite often the consumer accompanies the Consumer Affairs Officers to the establishment.

“Once the consumer is within the rights of the Consumer Affairs Act, we explain to the business owner – well this is the situation and we hear what they have to say and we settle the matter on that basis.”

Mr. Fough revealed that most complaints, pertaining to goods have to do with items being purchased and then there is a manufacturing fault that results in the good not lasting the duration of time that is expected. There have also been cases where the storage of the items has caused them to spoil or rot. This results in consumers being dissatisfied. He said that in such cases, the Consumer Affairs Act speaks to a refund or an exchange, depending on the desire of the offended consumer.

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