Consumers urged to be vigilant during Xmas season

shopPeta Rowe (JIS):

The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) is encouraging shoppers to be vigilant when buying during the yuletide season.

Acting director of communications at the CAC, Dorothy Campbell, said due to increased shopping activities at Christmas, many consumers are usually short changed during their purchases.

“We are entering a busy season and persons are buying in larger quantities and quicker without applying the correct due diligence before spending on gifts. As a consumer/shopper you have a responsibility when shopping,” Ms. Campbell noted.

She was speaking at a JIS Think Tank held on Friday, December 2, at the agency’s offices, St Andrew.

Ms. Campbell urged consumers to take the time to plan their shopping route and routine prior to going to the store. She said “this will ensure some amount of safety and prevent loose spending.”

The acting director of communications also advised shoppers to read the labels and manuals carefully before and after a purchase and test all appliances before leaving the store.

Ms. Campbell said that one of the agency’s most reported cases during the festive season has to do with electrical appliances being poorly installed, malfunctioned or damaged.

She made an appeal to consumers to “test the item before leaving the store, look for the ‘UL’ (Underwriters Laboratories, the world leader in product safety testing and certification) stamp on the cord.”

“Where you are unable to test the appliance, ensure that you are given a written warranty, especially for all electrical appliances. Check on the conditions of your warranty, ask if it includes labour, because for some stores, labour might be an additional charge,” Ms. Campbell advised.

She said consumers should also utilize the installation services of the store the product is being purchased from, particularly for electrical devices or equipment.

Meanwhile, Ms. Campbell recommended that consumers enquire about the time period of the store’s repair, replacement and refund policy. “All consumers should ask for an official receipt on every purchase or payment, this is what will assist in redress if necessary,” she noted.

Ms. Campbell explained that the receipt must have, “the amount paid for the item, the date of purchases, description of the item (s)…and other information.” She added that consumers should ensure that they are buying from a reputable establishment, take the time to examine their goods and look out of the “too good to be true deals.”

She also encouraged shoppers to secure cash, credit cards and valuables while out in public during the busy Christmas shopping season.