Consumer Affairs Commission sees increase in complaints against construction industry

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Badly fitted doors, uneven steps, and crumbling fences, the Guyana Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC) has been addressing complaints against construction and other durable goods and related services since becoming fully operational in 2010.

However, since introducing their Homebuilder’s Roadmap on their website, the CCAC has seen a marked increase in grievances against the construction industry.

Fresh off of World Consumer Rights Day celebrated on Monday last, Rusante Perry, Consumer Affairs Officer (ag.), CCAC, sat with the News Room and explained that the agency aims to ensure that consumers are protected whilst providing a legal framework for businesses to operate. These principles and the operation of the CCAC are guided by the Competition and Fair-Trading Act 2006 (CFTA) and the Consumer Affairs Act 2011 (CAA).

Ms Perry provided details on the type of complaints received, sharing that the highest category of complaints received was for suppliers of electronic devices. This is not surprising given the raging pandemic with electronic devices in demand. Leading the category of electronic grievances were defective handsets sold without warranties coupled with the supplier’s unwillingness to provide some form of compensation.

Rusante Perry, Consumer Affairs Officer (ag.)

Delving into construction-related complaints, a lot of the work was found to be substandard, unfinished or not completed to the customer’s specifications. Ms Perry was happy that more Guyanese consumers were now aware that redress could be sought through the CCAC, as building a house is a massive undertaking and investment.

For 2020, the CCAC received 460 complaints valuing over $104 million (based on the cost of the items) and they managed to resolve 56% of those complaints. To date, for 2021, the commission received 125 complaints and resolved 38%.

Looking forward, Ms Perry shared that the commission is completing a market study of the local banking industry to submit a report to CARICOM, which will be developing a financial consumer protection regime.

Also, touching on the tabled Hire Purchase Bill 2020, which saw the CCAC’s recommendations implemented, Ms Perry commented that it would “definitely be a big advantage for consumers who conduct hire purchase transactions especially those who have paid a substantial amount of the total cost and have to deal with repossession now. What that bill does, it protects the consumer especially because we have unforeseen circumstances in life and so, it really protects consumers who are in a disadvantage situation.”

If you would like to file a complaint with the Guyana Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission, you can call them on 219-4410, visit their website, ccac.gov.gy and fill up the complaint form electronically or visit the commission’s office at the National Exhibition Site, Sophia, Georgetown.

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