Thinley Namgay

Those using a packet of sugar or salt, soap bar and stones as weight stones should watch out for the officials of the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP). The office will clamp down on violators after putting some measures in place.

To promote fair trade and ethical business practices, safeguard economic interests and consumers, the OCP and Bhutan Standard Bureau (BSB) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) yesterday in Thimphu.

The MoU would help promote healthy competition and consumer protection affairs by providing efficient quality infrastructure services such as testing, calibration, certification of products and legal metrology.

The two agencies identified the areas of collaboration and agreed to work together after considering the legal obligations of both the agencies, cross-sectoral matters, vulnerabilities of consumers, prevailing unethical trade practices and the need of market standardisation.

The OCP will ask business entities to calibrate the weights and measures used for commercial purposes. BSB will carry out the calibration activities in the market places, certify calibrated weights and measures with validity and prohibit the use of faulty weights and measures for commercial purposes.

OCP will regularly monitor weights and measures used by the business entities in the market places, check their calibration status, restrict the use of faulty and non-calibrated weights and measures for commercial purposes. Based on requirements, BSB will ensure product testing to protect economic interests and safety of the consumers and provide appropriate remedies to the aggrieved consumers.

Where there is a requirement of national standards for promoting competition, protecting consumer rights and ensuring their safety, OCP will request BSB and participate as a technical committee. The two agencies also agreed to exchange information, provide expert views and technical assistance with relation to consumer protection.

A press release from the OCP stated that the agreement would enhance the performance of both the agencies. “There are also other government agencies and stakeholders carrying out the activities directly or indirectly in relation to protecting consumer interests and promoting fair trade practices in the market which merit leveraging on their functions and building institutional linkage with them to strengthen consumer protection affairs.”

“The OCP is also looking forward to establishing institutional linkage and working relationship with these stakeholders for collaborating, coordinating and complementing each other for enhancing consumer protection affairs,” the press release stated.