Cayman needs to protect consumers

| 30/10/2016

Is there anything here in Cayman like a Trading Standards Organisation? I have to assume not as I am a Caymanian and would probably have heard of it. The reason I ask, I was given the gift of a XXXXX blender which was bought from one of our discount-type stores and after watching a documentary on fake products discovered that we more than likely have a fake – which could be extremely dangerous. Tests have shown it to set on fire within four seconds of use and if left running alone for even a minute or less could be a disaster. They apparently should have certification marks on the back, which signify that they have been tested and “are what they say they are”. Ours does not! I have warned the family to be very careful and so far no problems but it is worrying. I wonder what “standards” purchasers at the discount stores (and any of our stores for that matter; not trying to ‘target’ discount-type stores – I love a bargain) set when they are buying products from their suppliers and indeed, how they “educate” themselves as to watching out for buying fakes to pass on to the public? It appears that it’s “buyer beware” in many cases.

Auntie’s answer: I believe the organisation you reference is actually the UK-based Chartered Trading Standards Institute, whose mandate includes protecting “the health, safety and wellbeing of citizens by enhancing the professionalism of members in support of empowering consumers, encouraging honest business and targeting rogue traders”.

In the US, there is the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is responsible for “protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction”.

I mention these two organisations only to contrast the fact, which I believe you correctly asserted, that Cayman does not have a similar agency. But there has been an ongoing conversation about establishing legislation to protect consumers (See Work begins on consumer protection law). The consultation period for the public to weigh in on this issue closed 3 June this year.

So, where does that leave us? Well, nowhere for now. If anyone out there has any idea when we might be moving forward with relevant legislation, feel free to let us know.

For your specific issue with your appliance, I have two things to say: First, if it were me, I would stop using it immediately and not wait for any potential fire to erupt. Second, I think the only recourse you may have is to bring the apparently fake item back to the store and see if you can get satisfaction from the managers there.


Category: Ask Auntie

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