Tips and Advice

Consumer Tips & Advice

Prohibited trade practices.

As a consumer, be aware that the following trade practices is prohibited under the Fair Trading Act, 2022. An enterprise found to be engaged in a prohibited conduct may be issued a Fixed Penalty, not less than SCR 1,500 and not exceeding SCR 20,000 per breach.

  1. Non-disclosure of prices
  2. Supplying goods without a trade description in English, French and Creole
  3. Selling above displayed price and multiple pricing
  4. Supplying goods without indicating the shelf life, or at a later date than the indicated shelf life.
  5. Failure to provide a receipt for a transaction to consumers

Information that should be contained on a receipt

Under section 77(3) A receipt shall include the following –

  • The supplier’s full name or registered business name;
  • The address of the premises at which, or from which the goods or services were supplied;
  • The date on which the transaction occurred
  • The name or description of any goods or service supplied;
  • The unit price of any particular goods;
  • The quantity of any particular goods
  • The total price of the transaction, before any applicable taxes;
  • The amount of any applicable taxes;
  • The total price of the transaction, including any applicable taxes

As a consumer it is your responsibility to keep safe your proof of purchase for you to be able to use your rights to obtain a “Repair, replace and refund”. A supplier will ask you to produce your proof of purchase.

Warranty period under the Fair Trading Act, 2022.

Section 107 (2) states that if the goods are not in conformity with specified standards the consumer may, within six months after delivery of the goods, return the goods to the supplier, without penalty and at the supplier’s risk and expenses, and the supplier shall refund to the consumer any costs associated with the use, installation or delivery of the goods and at the direction of the consumer –

(a)Unless it is impossible or disproportionate, the consumer may, in the first instance, require the supplier to repair the goods or else to replace them, in either case free of charge or

(b)Refund the consumer the price paid for the goods within 48 hours of the return of the goods to the supplier.

What are you entitled as a consumer?

As a consumer who acquires goods, other wise than by way of sale by auction, has a right to receive goods that are of merchantable quality. This is specified under section 106 (1) of the Fair Trading Act, 2022.

Under section 106 (2) it specifies that goods shall be of merchantable quality, if such goods are:

  • Safe
  • Reasonably suitable for the purpose for which they are generally intended
  • Reasonably suitable for the purpose the consumer made it known to the supplier the goods were required for;
  • Of good quality, in good working order and free of any defects
  • Usable or durable for a reasonable period, having regard to the use to which they would normally be put and to all the surrounding circumstances of their supply; and
  • If sold by sample, description or model match the sample, description or model.

In determining whether the above are applicable in respect of any particular goods, all the circumstances of the supply of the goods shall be taken into account –

  • The price and nature of the goods
  • The manner in which and purpose for which the gods were marketed, packaged and displayed, their composition and structure, the use of any trade description or mark in relation to the goods and any instructions for, all warnings with respect to, doing or refraining from doing anything with or in relation to the goods;
  • What might reasonably be expected to be done with or in relation to the goods;
  • The time when the goods were supplied

What does the law say about Repair?

Section 107 (4) - If the consumer directs that the goods be repaired, the supplier shall have 10 days evaluate, asses and report to the consumer within 10days on the nature, extent and costs, and the repair shall be affected within 60days, unless there are unavoidable circumstances beyond the control of the supplier.

What does the law say about Replacement?

Section 107 (5) - If the consumer directs that the goods be replaced, the supplier shall replace the goods within 3 days or such longer period as the parties agree among themselves.

In what instances can a refund be provided?

Section 107 (6) The consumer may require a refund of the price paid for the goods –

  • Where the consumer cannot obtain either the remedy of repair or of a replacement, or
  • If the supplier has not completed the remedy of repair or replacement within a reasonable time, or
  • If the supplier can only provide or complete the remedy of repair or replacement with significant inconvenience to the consumer.

What happens if a further defect occurs after which the good has been repaired?

Section 107 (8) states that if a supplier repairs any particular goods or any component of any such goods and within 3 months of that repair, the failure, defect or unsafe feature has not been remedied, or a further failure, defect, or unsafe feature is discovered, the supplier shall –

  • Replace the goods; or
  • Refund to the consumer the price paid by the consumer for the goods

What is an Unfair, unreasonable or unjust contract term?

A contract is deemed to be unfair, unreasonable or unjust if –

(a) it is excessively one-sided in favour of any person other than the consumer or other person to whom goods or service is to be supplied;

(b)the terms of the transaction or agreement are so adverse to the consumer as to be inequitable;

(c)the consumer relied upon a false, misleading or deceptive representation or a statement of opinion provided by or on behalf of the supplier, to the detriment of the consumer; or

(d)the transaction or agreement was subject to a term or condition, or a notice to a consumer, and —

 

  1. the term, condition or notice is unfair, unreasonable, unjust or unconscionable; or
  2. the fact, nature and effect of that term, condition or notice was not drawn to the attention of the

 

How does the Commission assess unfairness?

In determining whether a term of transaction or agreement referred to in section 66 is unfair, consideration shall be given to the following —

(a)the nature of the goods or service for which the transaction or agreement is concluded;

(b)the time of conclusion of the transaction or agreement;

(c)all the circumstances attending the conclusion of the transaction or agreement and all the other terms of the transaction or agreement or of another transaction or agreement on which it is dependent, including the following circumstances —

  1. the bargaining power of the parties;
  2. whether a consumer was subjected to undue pressure; and
  • whether the lack of knowledge or skill of a consumer was improperly taken advantage of; and

(d)whether they would be deemed unfair if not individually negotiated as set out in the Schedule.

What are the standards for performance of services?

Section 104 (1) of the Fair Trading Act, 2022 states, where a supplier undertakes to perform any service for or on behalf of a consumer, the supplier shall, having regard to the circumstances of the supply and any specific criteria or condition agreed between the supplier and the consumer before or during the performance of the service —

(a)perform and complete that service in a timely manner and give to the consumer timely notice of any unavoidable delay in the performance of the service;

(b)perform the service in a manner and of a quality that persons are generally entitled to expect;

(c)where goods are required for performance of the service, use, deliver or install such goods that are free of defects and are of a quality that persons are generally entitled to expect; and

(d)return any property or control over any property of the consumer in at least as good condition as it was when the consumer made it available to the supplier for the purpose of supplying the service.

What happens if a supplier fails to perform a service to the standard specified as per above?

The supplier therefore will have to –

  • remedy any defect in the quality of the service performed or the goods supplied; or
  • refund to the consumer a proportionate portion or the whole of the price paid for the service performed or goods supplied, having regard to the extent of the failure.

The above does not apply where the failure of the supplier to perform a service is because –

  • the act or default of another person; or
  • an accident or a cause beyond the control of the supplier.
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