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Does Cayman offer protection to consumers?

| 24/10/2017 | 15 Comments

A local media house claims it is the ‘most trusted’ news publication, a radio station claims it is ‘number one’. Are there no advertising laws in Cayman that at least require entities to provide evidence of their claims? By the way, did you know I am the best question submitter?


Auntie’s answer: I have actually received several related questions that all basically concern the issue of consumer protection in the Cayman Islands. While your question refers to false or misleading claims, others have addressed dealing with unscrupulous merchants, shoddy service and/or workmanship and price gouging. And for all of these problems, I am sorry to say that there is no legal recourse here for compensation.

I say this because, apparently, there are no laws in Cayman to protect customers from unfair trading practices. I know that seems ridiculous, but there it is.

That doesn’t mean there haven’t been any efforts to improve the situation, though those do seem to have stalled. Two years ago, the Law Reform Commission (LRC) published a very comprehensive discussion paper on this subject, “Consumer Protection – Entrenching Consumer Supremacy in Cayman Islands Legislation”. Included in the report are sections on what protections exist here (Hint: the answer is very few; there is the Sale of Goods Law (1997 Revision), which the LRC pointed out has its limitations, and the Price Gouging (Emergency Circumstances) Law, implemented after Hurricane Ivan). The report also discusses the need for consumer protection legislation.

I am not sure what the holdup is. The UK has the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008;  here is a guide to the protections these offer. In the US the Bureau of Consumer Protection is devoted to the same, and that country also has many laws dictating what is and is not allowed.

It seems to me it is way past time for Cayman to enact a law or two that would enshrine the protection of consumers. I’m sure that the few questions I have received are just the tip of the iceberg. I’m sorry I couldn’t simply answer your very reasonable question with a resounding, “Yes, of course.” Let’s hope that will change soon.

The LRC discussion paper on consumer protection can be found on the CNS Library

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Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (15)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Does it really matter if this law exists or not? Chances are it wouldn’t be monitored and enforced anyway. Just look at what happens on our roads every single day!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Stop whining. These exact same problems exist everywhere.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to the cayman islands. 80 years behind in civilization compared to europe. But quite up to date with the US. Fanatic religious leaders and greedy business people.

  4. Anonymous says:

    No Standards in Public Life Law either…go figure. The limited advocacy of the Chamber of Commerce in the Cayman Islands, is geared almost exclusively to prop local business rather than consumer fair play, the other side of the proverbial coin. Glad there are other people that notice this abnormality!

  5. Anonymous says:

    You have to ask why we do not have protection as consumers. Maybe something to do with interests within interests? Health insurance pricing is going through the roof because of price gouging by doctors…we should be protected, it will keep the already ludicrous prices down.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Someone needs to get a Life and worry about things that threaten human existence for example. 5G expansion is a good one to focus on. but wait, the power behind it is unbeatable.
    Then look at “Internet of things” created by Amazon and Google. At least understand what it is. But wait, there is nothing we, the people, can do either.
    Unless mother nature helps and Sun throws a CME at Earth and completely hits the reset button. The last time it happened was 1859. Back then there was no technology to disrupt.
    So “most trusted” and “number one” statements would be the least of everyone’s concerns.
    Make sure you don’t forget how to use your hands to build and fix things. Pushing buttons will not help when next CME destroys the very technology we 100% rely on.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is not about specifics, the subject is truth in advertising, goes a long way in creating trust and standards in society. That way when the next CME happens, then maybe some credibilty can be given to those who say they have developed protection against it!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Most of all of the big stores here have come miles from how it used to be. When I first arrived in 1990 it was buyer beware on every single item. Now, you can return a faulty item and they will take the return within a certain period of time.
    Shame on that place that charges a ‘restocking’ fee! I will argue that fee each and every time as I am happy to take the item back to the aisle it belongs to… ;0)

    • Anonymous says:

      Not all of them, we bought an ironing board at the biggest DIY chain, you know, on the roundabout. It was shrink wrapped. We only opened it a few days later, and it was useless, one of the legs was bent out of shape (not visible through the shrink wrap). We took it back. They refused to exchange it because it was unwrapped (how the hell else are you going to find out about anything wrong unless you unwrap it?) and that they could not “resell it” as a result. I told them they should send it back as faulty goods, not resell it. They refused. We boycott that store now.

    • Anonymous says:

      9:45 But do they honour the manufacturer’s warranty? This has been the problem in past because many items, not just household goods but major purchases like cars, have been ‘grey’ imports. What that means in simple terms is you’re buying from a retailer who is not an authorised supplier but has purchased the goods from an independent wholesaler somewhere off-island. If I buy goods that contain paperwork saying I’ve got a 12 or 24-month manufacturer’s warranty but all the store will give me is 30 days with a ‘re-stocking’ fee that’s a rip off.

  8. In 2016, before merging with other regulatory agencies to form OfReg, the ICTA issued Truth in Advertising Guidelines. See http://www.ofreg.ky/upimages/publication/TruthinAdvertisingGuidelines_1505728772.pdf

    It may only cover the ICT sector, but its a start!

    Auntie: Many thanks for this, Mr Fa’amoe. This document was actually in the CNS Library already but in a place I didn’t think to look for relevance. CNS has now created a new page (now indexed) called “Consumer Protection” so we can collate all relevant documents there.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I remember this subject being kicked around over a decade ago. People were finding that even though they were buying expensive big name electrical/electronic brands the stores weren’t honouring the manufacturers’ warranties and only giving them a limited 30-day warranty. The government of the day promised to bring in measures to put this right but it always seemed to me that the importers had a lot more political clout than the customers so it was all quietly forgotten.

    • Anonymous says:

      7:31 That’s why so many people prefer to buy household stuff in the USA and ship it here.

  10. Anonymous says:

    OfReg has consumer protection laws that relate directly to this story.

  11. Anonymous says:

    No. Welcome to wonderland.

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