Consumer complaints flood CCAA

Consumer complaints flood CCAA

A total sum of Nu 2,510,260 was reimbursed to numerous affected consumers by 52 different business entities

The Competition & Consumer Affairs Authority (CCAA) recorded a total of 148 consumer complaints last fiscal year, of which 90 percent were individual complaints while the remaining were general complaints. The complaints are categorized in two types-general and individual.

Consumers in Thimphu Thromde filed the most complaints in 2023 registering a total of 100 cases. Following closely were Paro and Chhukha dzongkhags, while Trongsa dzongkhag had the fewest complaints. However, dzongkhags such as Gasa, Bumthang, Haa, and Tsirang reported zero consumer complaints.

While analyzing monthly data, August witnessed the highest number of complaints, followed closely by March, April, January and February. On the other hand, June registered only seven complaints recording the lowest complaint received in 2023.

The CCAA swiftly addressed and resolved all complaints, except for two pending cases, within the same reporting period. Ethical concerns and malpractices by businesses dominated general complaints, with issues ranging from improper calibration of weights and measures to inadequate packaging, labeling, and price affixation.

Additionally, the issuance of purchase receipts to consumers remained a prevalent concern.

To tackle these unfair trade practices, the CCAA took a series of actions and held 52 different business entities accountable for their contract violations.

A total sum of Nu 2,510,260 was reimbursed to numerous affected consumers by 52 different business entities, which were found to have violated their contract. In cases where mediation failed, disputes were referred to the respective Dispute Settlement Committee, which facilitated refunds and compensations worth Nu 561,092.5 for affected consumers.

The CCAA also carried out market surveillance in major markets across the country to identify and address potential issues. A total of 1,775 business firms in 17 district towns/ Thromdes were inspected; some in collaboration with other regulatory agencies.

The main types of businesses covered for surveillance include petroleum retail outlets, grocery stores, automobile workshops, vehicle spare parts shops, garment stores, meat shops, wood-based industries, hardware stores, hotels/restaurants, pharmacies, bakeries and fabrication units.

In consultation with Bhutan Food and Drug Authority (BFDA), violators were fined a total of Nu 211,986 for sale of expired products.

Meanwhile in 2022, a total of 200 complaints including 86 general and 114 individual complaints were lodged at the Authority’s office.

Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu