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Price gouging & tenancy not included in proposed Consumer Protection Act

- being worked on as separate legislation, according to Government
According to Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), the proposed Consumer Protection Act does not cover price gouging; however, a separate document is being worked on to address those topics. Photo: Facebook
Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development, Honourable Sharie B. deCastro (AL) had previously clarified that the proposed Consumer Protection Bill is designed to create a balance between protecting the consumer, while at the same time providing safeguard measures to ensure that businesses are not subject to frivolous and fraudulent claims by customers. Photo: Department of Information and Public Relations/File
Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development, Honourable Sharie B. deCastro (AL) had previously clarified that the proposed Consumer Protection Bill is designed to create a balance between protecting the consumer, while at the same time providing safeguard measures to ensure that businesses are not subject to frivolous and fraudulent claims by customers. Photo: Department of Information and Public Relations/File
PARAQUITA BAY, Tortola, VI- The ninety-nine (99) pages of the Government’s proposed Consumer Protection Act does not cover price gouging; however, this is a separate document being worked on as, according to Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1), “that one is a greater challenge.”

At a public consultation held on Wednesday July 10, 2019 at the Eileene L. Parsons Auditorium at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) in Paraquita Bay, Tortola, the question of controlling price gouging, particularly in the construction industry, was raised by Dr Vincent G. Scatliffe who asked whether or not the legislation provides “a tariff kind of situation” for persons working in the construction industry.”

The question put to the panel by Dr Scatliffe similarised that of the system in place for taxi operators. “For instance I know for persons in the taxi industry, you have from point A to point B where there is a specific cost. Is there any such regulation, any such provision for how much any of those providers can charge for their services?”

But he was told, “No” and was informed that would lead to price control and that the Act does not address price control; however, it addresses the fact that prices cannot be manipulated in any negative way.

Paper trail

According to Premier Fahie, “But what is covered under the act or the proposed legislation is that once you enter an agreement with the contractor or the carpenter or whoever the case may be…you can hold them to the price that they give you, because this act now protects you as a consumer with the agreement you get, providing too that when you pay them you also get a receipt.”

Honourable Fahie added that in many cases where disputes arise there is no paper trail, such as contracts or receipts, to support the argument of the aggrieved.

It was noted too that if it is an expatriate worker operating outside their work permit, a paper trail would help the authorities to act.

“So the price control one would be one for more discussion…because that one is a greater challenge in that the market should help regulate those prices…”

Act does not address issue of tenancy

The meeting also brought to light another area not covered under the act.

Shania M. Smith, a member of the audience, said “We are here going through various business scenarios, so we are curious to know as far as transactions between a landlord and a tenant, will that be covered under this or that’s going to have to be a separate legislation?”

She was told by Honourable Fahie, “That is a separate legislation we are working on as we speak.”

The next public forum will be held from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm today, Thursday July 11, 2019 at the Catholic Community Centre on Virgin Gorda.

A session for the business community will also be held today from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, at the Village Cafe Conference Room on Virgin Gorda.

On Sunday July 14, 2019 consultations will be held on Jost van Dyke at 3:00 pm upstairs Foxy’s Restaurant and Bar.

On Monday July 15, 2019 at 10:00 am, residents of Anegada will get their opportunity to have their say on the Bill when consultations are held at the Anegada Community Centre.

7 Responses to “Price gouging & tenancy not included in proposed Consumer Protection Act”

  • Can we? (11/07/2019, 12:59) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    Can we get our increments please? I just wanna know?
  • Rent control (11/07/2019, 13:26) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    When surplus is greater than demand, the buyers (tenants) have power. The opposite is true when demand exceeds supply - the landlords have power. Let the market forces be. The greedy will never have any success.

    What tenants don’t understand is that output prices are determined by input & process prices - loan interests, insurance premiums, repairs & maintenance, land/house taxes, etc. When people incur high costs for products offered, they try to cover these costs. Thus, the consumers pay. However, some greedy people want an arm and a leg. These greedy people though forget just like how money come money go.

    Again, let the market of supply and demand determine the prices. What call government has to do with this? If they get involved, they would have to think about regulating the input prices - interest rates, insurance costs, etc and the process rates - real estate finders and management fees, etc.

    Think about what you think you can do because everybody hurting and only the people - banks, insurance companies, et al - at the top of the food chain are not.
  • Eagle Eye (11/07/2019, 13:49) Like (7) Dislike (5) Reply
    I am a NDP but I give the VIP much credit for this. My party killed themselves with greed
    • Goodsense (11/07/2019, 16:08) Like (7) Dislike (13) Reply
      If you were a REAL NDP you would know that it is because of NDP, VIP can now bring this legislation to bear.
  • Lovefor My Country (12/07/2019, 06:23) Like (4) Dislike (8) Reply
    It amazes me how much we pay attention to what is happening around us. A Consumer Protection Draft Bill has been around from the 1990s under VIP administration. It just sat there for whatever reasons. NDP did not do much about it but talk. Now VIP is back and trying to move it forward. BOTH ADMINISTRATIONS ARE TO BLAME FOR LACK OF NOT HAVING THIS BILL ON THE RECORD!
  • musa (12/07/2019, 07:15) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    what about a consumer give you a bonce check ,


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