IN a bid to widen the public’s awareness about consumers rights, the Competition and Consumers Affairs Commission (CCAC) on Thursday held its first virtual public consultation on its recently published draft rules of procedure.
The interactive session saw several stakeholders and patrons being informed about the consumer rights and policies that have been established to protect those rights. The recently published rules of procedure were also discussed.
During the session, CCAC’s Director, Anil Sukhdeo explained that the draft rules will provide the public with an understanding of how the commission functions when complaints are made.
He noted that the draft rules provide a platform for transparency in investigations to ensure that hearings conclude with impartial outcomes.
“The rules are just for clarity. The rules really are meant to guide how investigations are conducted. They’re meant for transparency so when anyone looks at how the commission functions, they can see that we function in a manner that ideally is impartial to all parties that are stakeholders in the investigation. So, we’re fair to both the buyer and consumers when we receive an investigation. And this not only extends to the investigation stage of the matter, it also extends to how hearings are conducted,” Sukhdeo said.
The draft rules will cover the complaints that are made, request for action on said complaints and investigation of complaints.
It will also manage the timeline for completing the investigation, the presentation of the case to the board of commissioners, access to file summary proceedings, evidence and witnesses’ adjournment of the hearing, continuation of the proceedings after death or insolvency of a party and joinder of complaints or respondents.
Meanwhile, Sukhdeo noted that more public consultation can be expected within the near future as the commission continues its work to build public trust and awareness.
He added that the commission will also be exploring face-to-face consultations; however, in the meantime, virtual consultations will continue.
“It’s an easier forum rather than physically travelling. And we may have persons from different regions so we’re open to any and all forums that can help us get that wider reach,” he said.
CCAC was established under the Competition and Fair-Trading Act (CFTA) of 2006. The body is mandated to investigate complaints by agencies and consumers and determine if there has been any contravention of the CFTA and to take prescribed actions is there was any.
Additionally, the body eliminates anti-competitive agreements and provides information to consumers on their rights to enable them to make informed choices.