Consumer protection legislation needed
Shortly after national catastrophic events, such as severe weather systems, and global events like the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, the price of goods on Dominican shelves always seems to increase exponentially.
In these circumstances, the public then wonders if there is any legislation in place for the regulation of prices, or if there is an entity that is responsible for effecting some level of price control on the market. Consumers may even wonder if there is any penalty for storekeepers who raise prices unfairly following certain events.
Dominicans can clearly remember after Hurricane Maria the cost of goods increased by leaps and bounds then complaints about price gouging by business owners. This phenomenon though is all part of the supply and demand nature of the market.
The public can rest assured there is an organization that has its best interest at heart though it may not yet have teeth in its bite.
President of the Dominica Consumer Protection Association, Cleville Mills, says it is high time that legislation is passed to protect the rights of consumers.
"Those laws have been in the making for a very long time. And we find it has been slow in coming," Mills said.
He told The Sun that the association has had some consultation with the Ministry of Trade, especially the Consumers Affairs Unit. In fact, since Consumer Rights Day 2019 the Association was promised that the Act would be in by June 2019. It is still pending.
Mills' comments came on the heels of World Consumer Rights Day, recognized under the theme: Fair Digital Finance. He acknowledged that Dominica and the world are getting more technologically savvy in e-banking and emphasized legislation will also help protect consumers who choose to do digital financial transactions.