The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) is considering taking legal action against those businesses that persist in displaying the "No Exchange, No Refund" sign, or any variation of it.

Officer-in-charge of the FTC’s Consumer Protection Division, Judy Maynard, said???? during a recent interview, that sanctions could be levied against establishments that continued to disregard the department’s warnings.??

From a survey of major shopping centres across Barbados over the last six years, she pointed out that officials from the department had seen signs displayed in the various department stores.

She stated: "The Consumers Guarantees Act gives consumers rights in relation to certain circumstances.?? For example, the Act stipulates that consumers are entitled to a repair, replacement or refund of money if something goes wrong with an item which they have purchased."

Ms. Maynard added: "On the other hand, the Consumer Protection Act says you must not mislead persons with respect to their rights. When a business mounts the sign "No Exchange, No Refund," what they are doing, is making a blanket statement saying that you [the consumer] are not entitled to these rights granted and that is illegal."

While no one has been apprehended for the offence under the Act, the FTC official said the department would step up its educational campaign. "Contravening the Consumer Protection Act is a criminal act.?? We need to educate persons because there are strong penalties attached to the Act. So, it is important that consumers know their rights and responsibilities.?? At the end of the day, we [FTC] want to ensure that the consumers’ behaviour is changed," Ms. Maynard underlined.

In relation to the Consumer Protection Act, she said it was designed to safeguard the interests of consumers.??

Under the Consumer Protection Act CAP 326 D, an individual found guilty of this offence may be fined $10, 000 or be imprisoned for two years, or both. For businesses, the fine is $100,000 or two years imprisonment, or both.?? Any director or officer who, knowingly, authorises the action could incur a penalty of $25, 000 or be imprisoned for two years, or both.

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