|Wednesday, 12 March 2003|
Consumer Units to ensure quality of products and services
By Channa Kasturisinghe
Trading establishments marketing consumer products and services will have to set up Consumer Information and Services Units with immediate effect to receive complain and suggestions from consumers regarding the quality of their products and services.
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake who met leading brand manufacturers and service providers yesterday at the Ministry has called upon them to ensure effective functioning of these units in order to establish direct links with the consumers and to assist them promptly.
Under Section 10(I) (II) of the new Consumer Affairs Authority act the Minister is empowered to issue directions to the trade and the industry to propose relief measures and facilities for the benefit of the consumers, Ministry sources told the Daily News.
"Accordingly the Minister said that in future all packs containing consumer products or labels on such containers and newspaper, radio and TV advertisements promoting these products and services will have to indicate the contact number (hotline) of the Consumer Services Unit of the respective establishment.
Consumers will be encouraged to make complaints and suggestions on the quality of product and services they purchase by contacting the hotlines which will enable them to resolve their problems in double quick time," a Ministry official said.
He said that at present companies marketing consumer products and services have no direct contacts with the consumer in relation to marketing their products.
"Therefore the Minister took this measure to develop a better relationship between the consumers and the product or service providers which will act as a catalyst in improving product and service quality. When a consumer is affected by way of a bad product or service, they have to seek relief from the legislative or regulatory body which is a process that takes a very long time and due to various difficulties consumers are reluctant to pursue their cases.
Several complaints have been received by the 24-hour customer care hotline in the Ministry about inferior products and unfair trade practices. The new measure will assist the Ministry's customer care unit to provide a better service to the consumers," the official said.
Produced by Lake House