Your days are numbered.
That is the stern warning from Donville Inniss, Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, to business owners who engage in unfair trade practices across the island.
Inniss said some companies are offering inferior products and services at an exorbitant price, among other unfair practices.
While he did not name the companies, he identified industries and professions, which the minister said were being carefully monitored.
At the same time, Inniss cautioned consumers against frustrating existing systems that aim to protect them from such practices.
“It is imperative that we send a clear message to those enterprises who seek to offer inferior products and services at over inflated prices, to those who seek to abuse their position of dominance, and to those who may occasionally seek to engage high priced attorneys-at-law in a tardy court system and those who may seek to block progress, generally speaking, that your days are numbered as the FTC gets stronger,” warned Inniss.
“We have to ensure that whether it is the provision of electricity service, relations between renewable energy suppliers and grid owners, the provision of quality fixed and mobile service or internet service, the sale of water or the sale of sand; the FTC will do what it has to do to do to ensure that there is fair competition and fair trade at all levels and at all times.”
He was speaking during the tenth annual lecture of the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) at the Accra Beach Hotel on Friday evening. The theme was What is Fair Trade?
He pledged his ministry’s support to ensure the FTC is “appropriately resourced” and maintain a high level of independence as it seeks to tackle the issue.
Saying the FTC “cannot do it alone”, Inniss called on the public and the business community to be more transparent in the way they conduct business “without the need to constantly refer to legislation”.
Quickly adding that the businesses also have rights, Inniss said disgruntled customers “should not seek to attempt to frustrate the legitimate work of free enterprise either. All the more reason for a well resourced FTC, in whom all of us, businesses and consumers, must have confidence”.
Today Barbados joins the rest of the world in observing World Consumer Rights Day, the theme being Fix Our Phone Rights.