Learn to shop smart

Flashback: The StarMetro report on lemon laws on Dec 18

Consumers must shop smart to prevent being cheated or short-changed by traders.

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hasan Malek said education and awareness campaigns were needed.

“Our officers have been told to increase the level of consumer awareness in all nine districts in Selangor.

“We want every consumer to be observant and know their rights to reduce unfair business practices,” he said, adding there were a range of regulations to ensure products sold were safe.

“Our officers are vigilant and do continuous checks. The Consumer Protection Act 1999 has also been amended to strengthen our enforcement.

“For example, a regulatory body to oversee and provide guidelines for advertising was introduced in 2010,” he added.

Hasan noted that people in urban areas of Selangor were more aware of their rights,

“Those in the outskirts or semi-urban areas might not be as well informed of their rights as consumers to complain and seek redress,” he said.

On Dec 18 StarMetro front-paged the need for lemon laws to better protect consumers and improve the quality of goods and services.

Lemon laws are laws protecting consumers against defective goods that fail to meet performance standards at the time of purchase.

On Jan 10, StarMetro highlighted the call from the National Consumer Complaints Centre for a law that allows consumers to return their cars for a full refund if defects remained unresolved within a reasonable time.

Hasan said there were specific provisions in the law to protect consumers but it may not be very clear-cut.

“Consumers would prefer a no questions asked guarantee and a law that enforces this.

“However, the ministry must also be fair to domestic traders,” he said, adding the ministry has to balance the competing needs and interests of both consumers and traders.

“Most electronic items and appliances have a one-year guarantee.

“But, if a store has a strict no-return policy then a consumer should not patronise the place.

“If they are not satisfied, they can also file a claim through the Consumer Claims Tribunal,” he said.

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