The Consumer Affairs Division (CAD) of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) yesterday said 45 business establishments have been found in breach of the Adverse Trade Practices Order 2000 (ATPO) during a recent surveillance exercise conducted by the division.
In a news release, the Division said the Adverse Trade Practices Order 2000 (ATPO) makes it an offence for anyone, in the course of business, to engage in certain trade practices which adversely affect the economic interests and infringe on the rights of consumers within Trinidad and Tobago.
The ATPO specifically prohibits the display and/or publication, whether on business premises, advertisements or receipts/receipt books any of the following:
• “No Refund”
• “No Exchange”
• “No Refund on Sale Items”
The consumer affairs watchdog said businesses found in contravention of the ATPO are liable:
(i) On summary conviction to a fine of $5,000 AND to imprisonment of four months or;
(ii) On conviction on indictment to a fine of $10,000 AND to imprisonment for two years.
The Consumer Affairs Division said: “All that such displays and/or publications are not in keeping with the provisions of the ATPO.
“Further, the CAD is admonishing any businesses which may still be engaging in this practice, to take immediate steps to remove any offending phrases or signs in their establishments or on bill/receipt books and to ensure that they comply with all established consumer protection laws as part of their commercial practices.
The Government department requested that consumer be on the alert for displays such as those described above and to report to the Consumer Affairs Division any such discoveries via our Facebook page @ConsumerAffairsTT, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or toll free hotline, 800-4277.
The division said it remains committed to ensuring the protection and empowerment of all consumers and intends to continue these surveillance checks in the coming weeks.