Dechen Dolkar

In April alone, the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) received a total of 16 complaints from consumers across the country.

OCP imposed fines on 46 entities and made 59 entities rectify unfair trade practices in the same month.

Of the 16 complaints, two were about faulty products, four about service terms and condition commitment failure, seven about miscellaneous unethical trade practices, and three about price manipulation.

Chief program officer of OCP, Jigme Dorji said that the two faculty products were a Buddhist ritual artefact and household appliances.

He said that one of the customers complained that the Buddhist artefact product was not functioning and it was reimbursed.

“The other product was a grinder and an electric boiler. The products were not functioning and they were replaced,” he said.

The chief said that the terms and conditions commitment failures mainly pertained to advances paid for the delivery of goods that were not fulfilled or reimbursement of advances for services that were not consumed.

Miscellaneous complaints included misleading advertisements on social media about the nature of the product, sale of products with unsubstantiated health benefits, failure to supply goods as advertised on social media and failure to get compensation for double payment made by a consumer through internet banking.

He said that there was a product in the market claiming health benefits. The product name was VIRUS SHUTOUT claiming that it will cure the Covid-19.

Jigme Dorji said that based on the nature of complaints, the OCP mediated between the complainant and the business entity for refunds or replacement of faulty products.

“The business entities are further directed to rectify their mistakes and comply with the rules and regulations, failing which further action can be taken,” he said.

He also said that while the OCP entertains all types of consumer complaints against a business entity to get fair redressal, in many cases, it has been found that consumers also do not take precautions before buying or making a purchase decision. Customers did not fully read or understand the terms and conditions, find out whether an e-commerce business is registered and genuine or check and compare the prices of goods and services that are offered by other businesses.

The OCP urges general consumers to make informed purchase decisions and carry out due diligence before any purchase.