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LEFT OF CENTRE: Legislation favours seller

Malcolm Gibbs-Taitt

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By universal declaration there are only eight rights that were given the blessing by Consumers’ International in 1983 and, subsequently, by the United Nations.
For historical reasons, it is important to note that it was the late United States President John F. Kennedy who started the movement with the first four rights during the early 1960s.
To ascertain if these rights are effectively upheld it would make sense to state each of them:
1. The Right To Satisfaction Of Basic Needs. 2. The Right To Safety. 3. The Right To Be Informed. 4. The Right To Choose. 5. The Right To Be Heard. 6. The Right To Redress. 7. The Right To Consumer Education. 8. The Right To A Healthy Environment.
It is not reasonable to have rights without responsibilities and we accept five cases of consumer responsibilities. If we had the authority, two new rights should be added: We should be prepared to boycott and/or protest peacefully to safeguard our rights as consumers.
If an individual articulates his or her cause with a retailer or merchant and, as a result, gets a good deal, that is fine.
Does this mean that others who are less fortunate members of society will benefit from that victory? Not at all! This is why we need to unite.
The corporate sector is vital to the economic well-being of our society. It is, therefore, imperative that businesses engage in corporate social responsibility practices that will assist the very consumers who keep the doors of commerce open.
Despite the passage of new acts that should benefit consumers, the buyer/seller legal system is still operating under the 1890s’ law that acknowledges “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware).
That antiquated legislation is weighed in favour of the seller.
It is time that the seller becomes aware, too. New legislation must, therefore, reform the system enough that businesses are made to acknowledge “caveat venditor” (let the seller beware).
There is need for equity for all people so unfair practices must be eliminated to force sellers to be responsible.
Allow me to bring matters, topical as they are, to show that all is not well for some consumers.
How is it that teachers at Alexandra School could be so unprofessional as to ignore that a section of the stakeholders in this matter, the students, will be disadvantaged, especially those preparing for CXC?exams?
Let us look at one other matter: what kind of mentality would lead a group of engineers and others to construct a roundabout that has an island so large that it robs vehicular and pedestrian traffic of valuable road space?
Some consumers do not fully understand that their interests cannot be properly served by joining with others to secure discounts for goods or services, thereby causing business entities to mitigate the prices and charge even the consumers receiving the discount higher prices.
Even worse, the customer who is not privy to the discount is further fleeced by the businesses.
What is crasser is that businesses are gaining unfairly from this kind of intrusive endeavour that adversely affects the elevated rise in the cost of living.