consumer affairs bermuda

Consumer Affairs Wants To Hear Your Story

10/12/2007 | Have you recently hired a contractor to perform work on your house and were completely unsatisfied with the result? Tiles coming up, leaking windows, burst pipes? Perhaps the contractor took your money and didn’t even show up! Or have you been treated shoddily by a customer service representative? Swore you’d never put your foot in that store again. Spent a fortune on a brand new bike and it’s been a lemon since the get-go?

Consumer Affairs wants to hear from you!

Consumer Affairs is charged with enforcing and prosecuting those matters that fall under the Consumer Protection Act 1999- issues involving unfair business practices, unconscionable acts and unsafe consumer goods. That means that you’re protected against things like double-tipping, misleading advertising, and contracts that are excessively one-sided in favour of the trader.

But for all other matters, such as those that fall under the Sales of Goods Act as amended in 2002 and contractual law, we can only provide guidance and mediation between consumers and local businesses in the hope that some of these disputes can be settled without the need for the matter to go to court- a costly and time-consuming process for all parties involved.

Either way, when you hear the same horror stories happening over and over again to unwitting consumers, it’s enough to throw up your hands and give up.

So while we will continue to honour our commitment to assisting consumers under the auspices of the Consumer Protection Act 1999, what we really want to do is help the public before things go that far. Because let’s be frank, if you’re calling us, you’re at the end of your rope.

And it doesn’t have to be that way.

It’s time for you to take responsibility as a consumer and take steps to protect your hard-earned dollars. For instance, did you know that the bill you receive for your new roof may be thousands of dollars more than the estimate your contractor gave you? That’s because an estimate is basically just an informed guess. What you should have gotten was a quote- an itemized list of the work you’ve agreed to and the amount you will be expected to pay.

The value of an estimate is just one of the many misconceptions that consumers need cleared up.

So whether you’re confused about whether extended warranties are actually worth your money, whether it’s safe to buy a secondhand car, or how to get your money back for a faulty product we invite you to write into Consumer Affairs today.

We’re at 129 Front St, Hamilton HM 12, fax 295-6892, or e-mail consumers@gov.bm. Please note in your letter that it is for publication in our Bermuda Sun column.