Consumers should make CAC first point of contact – NCRA Official Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Consumers who find themselves with substandard products are being reminded to make the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) their first point of contact for redress, prior to going to the National Compliance and Regulatory Authority (NCRA).

According to Inspector-in-Charge, Import and Domestic Commodities Inspectorate at the NCRA, Dr Wendell Richards for a consumer to get redress, the CAC must be their first point of contact.

“When they come directly to the NCRA, what we can only do is investigate or we can take action against the entity; we can’t do anything for the consumer,” he explained.

Dr Richards pointed out that once consumers contact the CAC and their claims are proven, the CAC will mediate on their behalf, which may result in them getting a replacement of the product or financial compensation.

The CAC is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC). Its role is to enforce the Consumer Protection Act and facilitate ethical behaviour in the marketplace between vendors and consumers.

Between April 1 and August 31, 2022, the CAC reported that it secured $15.9 million in refunds and compensation for aggrieved consumers.

“So, the advice is always to go through the CAC. They send us a report and then we do the investigations, and we send the report back to them,” Dr Richards explained.

He pointed out that although the NCRA’s role does not include intervention on behalf of the consumer, the Authority, through its regulatory function, has removed several substandard products from the marketplace, including liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stoves and hot plates, tissue paper, detergent, rice and flavoured water.

Meanwhile, during his Sectoral Presentation in May 2022, Minister of State in the MIIC, Dr Norman Dunn, noted that during the 2021/2022 Financial Year, the value of goods withdrawn from sale by the NCRA for consumer protection amounted to approximately $10 million.

“We recalled fans that were a safety hazard and detained and withdrew from sale 68,700 substandard concrete blocks and 13,058 litres of substandard petroleum products, valuing $2.2 million,” said Dr Dunn.

The NCRA is also an agency of the Ministry. It is responsible for inspecting and monitoring food-processing establishments, inspecting commodities at the ports of entry and in the domestic market, and ensuring that the scales and measuring devices used in trade are accurate.