Thursday, May 25, 2023
By JADE RUSSELL
Tribune Staff Reporter
A NEW Consumer Protection Bill will empower consumers, protect people from exploitation and help promote a culture of accountability, Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis said yesterday.
He tabled the bill, which will replace the Consumer Protection Act when passed, in the House of Assembly.
“A critical aspect of the bill is the restriction of pyramid selling and the obligation for businesses to state the full costs of goods or services. These measures will help ensure that consumers are not exploited or deceived,” Mr Davis said.
He said the bill changes how people can make complaints.
“Under the new bill,” he said, “consumers can make complaints even while outside The Bahamas, and we are expanding the list of who can make a complaint on behalf of the complainant. These changes reflect our commitment to inclusivity and accessibility, ensuring that all Bahamians have a voice and can seek redress when necessary.”
Mr Davis said consumers could give virtual testimonies during investigations as operations move into the digital era.
“A significant change under the new bill is the mandatory licensing and registration of providers. Failure to comply will result in penalties, encouraging businesses to operate within the boundaries of law and promoting a culture of accountability,” Mr Davis said.
“The bill includes stringent provisions against misleading and deceptive conduct, harassment, and coercion. We want to create a marketplace where consumers can engage with confidence and without fear.”
Mr Davis said the bill expands definitions, refines the functions of the consumer commission and modernises how the commission functions.
“The bill seeks to repeal sections that no longer serve our purpose, including those on approved and non-approved services and businesses offering repair services. Updating our laws to respond to changed conditions allows us to ensure the people are served effectively.”
“The proposed legislation also empowers the consumer commission to issue advisory notices in situations where harmful practices to consumers are identified. We believe these notices will serve as a valuable tool in preventing harmful business practices and educating consumers about potential risks.”
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