CPC Retail Exchange/Refund Campaign
21st November 2018
CPC RETAIL EXCHANGE/REFUND AND RECEIPT CAMPAIGN
The Consumer Protection Commission is today embarking upon a consumer education campaign to sensitize retailers and local consumers alike, about two areas of major concern; store exchange and refund policies and the issuance of receipts to consumers for every and all purchases. Currently in the market place business establishments are making up their own policies to protect their interests at the expense of that of the consumer.
Merchants are hereby advised that their individual store policies as it relates to refunds and/or exchanges cannot be ultra vires the Statute Laws of The Bahamas, particularly in this instance the Consumer Protection Act.
All exchange policies must be compliant with and adhere to basic consumer rights.
THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE
Consumer Protection Act Chapter 27(1)
- Subject to subsections (3) and (4), where a consumer is encouraged to acquire goods by the provider’s declaration and description of the goods and the consumer subsequently discovers that those goods are defective in a material particular from that intended to be purchased, the consumer may return the goods to the provider.
- (2) The provider shall immediately offer to the consumer, in exchange for the returned goods, monetary compensation of the goods or such other amount as may be agreed between the consumer and the provider.
To reiterate, this is a matter of grave concern for the Commission as we are aware of stores seeking to force via store policy, no exchange no refund policies upon vulnerable and non-suspecting consumers.
No exchange policy should deprive a consumer of his/her right to choose. The consumer has the right to decide for himself whether he would accept an exchange item, store credit or have a cash refund.
It should be emphasized that this also applies to electrical goods. It has become commonplace to see signs posted in various stores advising of no exchange or refunds on electrical goods in direct contravention of Chapter 28 of the Act.
28(1) Subsection (2) shall apply in any case where –
- A consumer purchases any electrical good, believing it to be fully operational; and
- Upon attempting to use it, the consumer discovers that it is faulty or non-functional.
(2) The consumer shall, upon returning the good to the provider, be entitled to –
- An exchange of the faulty good for a new functional similar good free of cost; or
- A refund of the amount paid for the good if the provider is unable to establish that the good was damaged as a direct result of the consumer’s actions.
Let it hereby be known to all and sundry that all such policies are null and void to the extent that they are ultra vires the Statute Law of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
THE RIGHT TO BE INFORMED
The consumer has the right to be informed of exactly what the establishment’s exchange policy is before leaving the store after a purchase. Ideally, this should be printed on the receipt.
It is the business establishment’s responsibility to ensure that its employees are sufficiently familiar with the goods being sold to the general public, so as to be able to orally inform the consumer on its proper use and installation where appropriate, and to answer any questions about the product the consumer may have at time of purchase.
Failure to do so is an infringement of the consumer right to information and contravenes Chapter 21 of the Act.
Chapter 21(1) At any time before payment is made for any item of goods of, or above a prescribed value (whether sold used or unused), a provider shall provide, both orally and in writing, all information in the English Language to the consumer concerning the goods being sold including, where applicable, the origin, price in the currency of The Bahamas, care terms, components, hazards, proper use, assembling, installation, weight and size of the goods and where chargeable, the professional fees of the provider being charged in respect of the goods.
- 21(2) Where a provider fails to comply with subsection (1) he shall, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the warranty document, be responsible for any damage done to the goods by the consumer that can be directly attributed to the consumer’s lack of information.
THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD
A business establishment should make every effort to listen to and resolve a consumer complaint in-house.
The second component of this campaign is to speak to the issuance of receipts to the consumer for any and all purchases.
All registered businesses in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas are required by law to issue a receipt for all money transactions. It is illegal to not do so; neither can a business say in an attempted defense that receipts are only issued if asked for by the consumer. Businesses involved in this practice are urged to cease and desist immediately as this is a direct contravention of Chapter 23 of the Act.
23(1) Where a consumer purchases goods or services from a provider, the provider shall give to the consumer a receipt showing –
- The amount paid by the consumer;
- The date on which the purchase is made or the service is rendered;
- A description of the goods sold or services rendered;
- The professional fees charged; and
- Such other information as the Minister may by regulations prescribe.
THE RIGHT TO REDRESS
Consumers are encouraged to be aware of their rights and not to allow any business establishment to infringe upon or deprive them of those rights as enshrined in the Consumer Protection Act. By all means attempt to resolve a complaint against a business with that business first. Document all attempts, dates and who you spoke to, and if not successful present your case along with any and all documentary evidence, inclusive of your receipt, to the Consumer Protection Commission for further investigation.