FOR years, consumers have complained about the quality of the reconditioned vehicles which they purchase from importers, but citizens may soon get some help in this regard when a “Used-Vehicle standard” is adopted by the authorities.
The second most reported issue lodged with the Competition and Consumers Affairs Commission (CCAC) in 2018 centered on the auto industry, in which 56 complaints were filed. The CCAC, in its 2018 report, said that 40 of the total reported cases were solved and this translated to a value of $70M. It said that while a marginal reduction of seven per cent was seen as compared to 2017, the auto industry accounted for 77 per cent of the cumulative value of complaints.
The CCAC said the high figure continues to be an issue of grave concern as 61 per cent of the 56 reported complaints was due to the infringement of the Consumer Affairs Act regarding the return of goods. It was noted that 28 per cent of the 56 complaints regarding the auto industry were due to the contravention of the Consumer Affairs regarding misleading or deceptive conduct.
The CCAC said that in order to mitigate the issues regarding the auto industry, the commission collaborated with the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) and accepted a request from International Consultant and Director of Excellence in Automobile Assessment (EAA) in Japan, Mr. Lee Sayer. It was noted that a visit was made to Guyana to conduct a meeting with various stakeholders involved in the importation of vehicles – the purpose of the meeting being to facilitate the discussion of a pre-shipment inspection programme for used vehicles being imported from Japan.
The CCAC said that its Consumer Affairs Unit (CAU) continues to engage in research as it relates to the execution of such a programme in Guyana. Additionally, the CAU will work along with the GNBS to regularise the sector with the development of a “Used-Vehicle Standard.”
In 2018, the CCAC received a total number of 289 complaints which spanned several areas of business including the electronics industry, appliances, clothing, construction, furniture and shipping, among others. The highest numbers of complaints (119) were about electronic goods with a majority of such reports being about defective mobile phones.
According to the CCAC, the electronics industry dominated the full list of complaints for last year, accounting for 41 per cent of 289 complaints received by the unit in 2018. The unit stated in its report that the high rate of reports can be linked to the growing ease of accessibility to these products which consequently leads to them being more susceptible to fraudulent and misleading practices.
It said that reports for cellular phones were most dominant within electronic category, accounting for 42 per cent of electronic complaints. In an effort to minimise these complaints, the CCAC will continue to collaborate with the GNBS. Last year, the CCAC said that it managed to solve 229 of the total 289 complaints the body received. The value of the solved cases represented a sum of $59M. The body said that recommendation for the development of regulations will be pursued to tackle defiance through a fining penalty structure. It said that the interest of the consumer will be the driving force and this will be done objectively at all times ensuring that a level playing field is always maintained for all parties.