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Consumers Association President Says ‘No Exchange, No Refund’ Policy Illegal

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The ‘No exchange, no refund’ policy adopted by some merchants has come in for criticism from the President of the National Consumers Association (NCA).

Dr. Thecla Fitz-Lewis said the policy is illegal and unconstitutional according to the Labour Act of January 2022.

Fitz-Lewis spoke during the Government Information Service (GIS) programme ‘Issues and Answers,’ aired this week.

“You cannot display a sign saying ‘no exchange, no refund’ because according to the Act, the three Rs have to kick in,” the NCA President explained.

Fitz-Lewis disclosed that if an item does not comply with the consumer’s needs, does not meet the requirements, or is sub-standard, the Labour Act indicates that there should be replacement, refund, or repair.

She asserted that merchants should not display ‘no exchange, no refund’ signs.

Fitz-Lewis also revealed that the NCA had received consumer complaints regarding no warranties on some items, especially electrical appliances.

“Every electrical item has a warranty. It could be six months to one year,” the NCA President observed.

She said if somebody purchases a fan  and after two weeks it stops working, the seller is responsible for replacing, repairing the item, or providing a refund.

Fitz-Lewis said her organisation was working with the Consumer Affairs Department to address consumer issues, including consumer education.

But regarding price gouging, the Consumer Affairs Department has explained that the matter is beyond its control.

“We can only monitor the price of goods which are price-controlled, and they are listed on the Distribution and Price of Goods Act,” Acting Director of the Consumer Affairs Department, Wendy Frederick said.

“So while we have no control over all, what we try to do is to educate, let consumers know to shop around, what to do, what to buy. So, it’s a lot of education that needs to be done,” she stated.

In addition, Frederick said consumers can inform the Consumer Affairs Department about their issues.

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20 COMMENTS

  1. Dr Fitz I am so tired of the NCA complaining like the average consumer. Conduct poles, surveys and lobby government to ensure that the desired framework and legislations are enacted.
    It is rather strange that the NCA and Government seem helpless and powerless in dealing with price gouging. While I appreciate some items are difficult to monitor others can be monitored. The cost of an item can be determined at the customs entry and clearance stage via the CIF and customs fees/duties. Applying best practice profit margins or justifiable margins could and would indicate a reasonable selling price to consumers.
    It will always become difficult for respective governments to implement measures and monitors these same business who fund and finance their respective political campaigns

  2. Electrical items are an exception to the rule because the fault could be in the electrical circuit at the house, or the lack of a ground fault circuit interrupters to mitigate power surges. Proving the whether the purchased electrical item is faulty or the electrical supply at house is a different ball game.

  3. @Rude … the exercise of conducting polls, statistics, surveys are practically non-existent in SLU, especially in government and NGO establishments. And YES, I agree with you that the “NCA is NOT a customer” … But they do have their work cut out for them, mostly due to the negligence of past administrations. They need to BOND with ALL the utility services (blatant gougers!), and the Asian community of merchants (Syrian, Chinese, Indian – ALL of them) – even the customs & excise and SLASPA departments. The NCA might take a good FIVE YEARS for them to iron out themselves, and they need to be more strategic and a force to be reckoned with.

  4. Northwest made me buy parts I didn’t need. When I caught onto their con I asked for a refund. They refused. Almost $2000 lost. Damn thieves.

  5. @Jamez, one of the best way to shop at these non refundable place who boldly place a sign is to pay with your debit or credit card. Don’t be fooled, paying with your debit card you can stop and file a refund claim, because the money is only being deducted from your account but it being places in an escrow like system and after a certain time the transaction carry on with the completing process. The consumer affairs is a white elephant, they are incompetent to carry out proper investigations they want consumers to do the job for them and yet they have no bearing to represent you. Just a bunch of jacka$$$

  6. many of the Chinese shops are notorious for this, even faking electrical compliance being written on them, many occasion they are pretty basic.

  7. Bought a pair of shoes at Payless baywalk mall the sole broke in have I was told there’s nothing that can do about it. I am on my own.

  8. Ok so why is it that you guys don’t go to different establishments to see who has these signs and have a talk with them to take it down or they will have to suffer the consequences if there any

  9. If it is illegal why are the culprits not prosecuted for displaying the signs? There must be severe consequences to the offenders to stop the practice.
    Educatingvthe consumer without deterring fines imposed on merchants will make no difference.
    Come on lets get some teeth and do the tight thing for consumers and stop the chatting.

  10. I must say this – I will not purchase an electrical item which is not properly labelled and securely sealed in an untampered box. Having said this – there should always be a manufactures warranty and a how to manual on electrical fans, televisions, refrigerators within the box etc. etc.

    You must also be an educated consumer in order to engage in certain transactions, especially when purchasing store items – check out the fine print and if you do not agree with it – leave it alone.

  11. Thats not the only advantage these business take on the public. Theres no such thing as “you break you pay.” As long as the incident happened in the store, the business place insurance has to cover it. Not the buyer especially if it was an accident. But thats stuff you learn only when you go abroad. In st lucia u have to go through so much stress to change a lil money in a bank. Where as in other countries u dont even need to go to a bank to conduct such transaction. You go to a money exchange outlet and its done hassel free, sometimes it not even necessary to present any id unless its over a stipulated amount. Trust me the stuff u learn from travelling shows you how much st lucians are oppressed by their own government.

  12. This happens when we want to justify we living in an over develop world. St. Lucia is on the check list for tons of organizations, trade and corrupted entities. We are just a tick in the check list format nothing more to say, in the city of blind one eye man is the king.

  13. i had to laugh and shake my head, after reading the comments above. YES!! I am in agreement with every one of you, as Major Consumers. The NCA seems to have put the cart before the horse. Deal with the merchants first, then look after the consumer.

    The NCA needs to BOND with all ST LUCIAN merchants and service providers – give them workshops, etc., on the laws, policies, rules and regulations on carrying out a business, and PROPER CUSTOMER CARE!! After they have laid down that important RED carpet – then – they can command Joe Public Consumer to do their job (complain if necessaery) –

  14. I am so happy to hear this statement from Dr. Fitz-Lewis regarding the illegality of the “no refund-no exchange” policy declared by some stores especially Acceas where certain cashiers backed up by their suoervisors, can insist that a refund cannot be issued or an exchange can not be made because the item is on sale?

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