Apr 13, Colombo: Boosting its consumer safeguards in the New Year, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has introduced a special seasonal monitoring program on the directions of the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen.
As a result, CAA monitoring now expands to New Year "sales promotions" by various firms and even seasonal discount campaign offers by sellers.
Meanwhile, the rush to cash in on the season by errant traders is so strong, the CAA has netted almost Rs five million in fines in a very short period, according to the Minister.
"The new year season is a time when many consumers fall victims to errant traders" said Minister Bathiudeen during a meeting with his officials on Wednesday.
"As a result we increased our raids, and collected almost Rs five million as fines. CAA officials have informed that a Special Market Monitoring Program (SMMP) is in place during this season to safeguard the consumers."
On the instructions of Minister Bathiudeen, CAA officials guided by its Chairman Hasitha Tillekeratne under SMMP, have started monitoring prices of many items-including food - sold at rest-stops where long distance passenger buses break journey midway for refreshments.
CAA officials are closely monitoring defective products including household appliances, prompted on seasonal "discounted prices/sales" campaigns by such firms. CAA is also monitoring prices of mineral water bottles and soft beverages sold by all types of sellers. Even quality and the safety of food items sold by roadside mobile units are now being monitored to ensure consumer safety in the season.
Also, in the pre-new year period of March 12-April 10, the CAA conducted 2586 raids across the country, filed 1238 cases in courts. A total of Rs 4.9 million in fines were collected in this period by CAA, from the errant traders in this short period that ended on April 10.
If any consumer feels that they were victims of a bad sale, they can immediately call the CAA hotline 1977 and give details, the Minister said.