Saint Lucia
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Consumers Association President Says ‘No Exchange, No Refund’ Policy Illegal – St. Lucia Times

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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.

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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.

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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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