-says CCAC Director
HIGHLIGHTING the importance of consumer rights, Director of Guyana’s Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC), Anil Sukhdeo, has said that an individual’s right to safe products and services go hand in hand with human rights.
Sukhdeo shared these sentiments during a webinar held on Monday in commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the enactment of the Consumers Affairs Act in Guyana.
“Consumer rights is really an extension of your human rights. Many times they are one in the same,” he said.
He noted that human consumption is a basic necessity that requires legislation to safeguard it.
“As a society we need to find a form of protection for something that affects our daily lives like this … on a daily basis we consume on items, on a weekly basis we will be in the stores or the shops or whatever the case is,” he said.
Sukhdeo emphasised that this “important and fundamental” aspect of human life should be protected.
The director went on to say that consumers have the right to enjoy unhindered and unfettered access to services, and he noted that consumers also have the right to basic knowledge and information about the goods and services that they are purchasing.
“Consumers have the right to basic education. So, as a consumer you have the right to be informed. Consumers need to have certain knowledge about the goods and services that they make use of. They should be aware of their best choices when making a decision and when making purchases.”
Additionally, he noted that safety is always a priority.
“You always have the right to safety. Consumers must be protected when they are using goods and services that may be harmful to their life.”
Joining the discussion was consumer advocate Dr. Yog Mahadeo, who said the significance of consumer legislation has too often been depicted in a system where consumers for years have been robbed, conned and blindsided by businesses and business owners.
Mahadeo in his remarks said that the legislation and the work the commission has been doing, has given consumers some relief.
“This legislation and what we are doing, it offers consumers the ability to breathe, it offers consumers equal protection on the law for transactions, goods and services.”
He noted that there are many citizens who still have little to no knowledge of their rights and the Consumers Affairs Act of 2011.
“How many of our Guyanese brothers and sisters are fully acquainted with what rights they have under this legislation and other similar pieces of legislation? There is so much wrong with the ways consumers are being treated. The good thing is Guyana is also taking baby steps towards the big picture.”
Also speaking at the webinar, consumer advocate and Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) council member, Pat Dial and Rajendra Bisessar of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), reiterated that consumers’ rights must be safeguarded and consumers should be made aware of their basic rights.
The act aims to promote and protect consumer interests in relation to the supply of goods and services and for related purposes. This act covers a number of areas relating to the rights of the consumer. Some of the areas include: duties of suppliers, unfair trade practices, unfair contracts and electronic sales.