Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 14, 2017 (SKNIS): The Department of Consumer Affairs and by extension the Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis will join the rest of the world on Wednesday, March 15, to celebrate World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) under the theme “Building A Digital World that Consumers Can Trust”

Paul Queeley, Director of Consumer Affairs, said that WCRD was introduced in 1983 by Consumer International, the global voice for consumer protection. He said that it “used to highlight areas where consumer protection is lacking and to initiate discussions that could bring about new and revised legislations to better protect consumers”.

Commenting on the theme, Mr. Queeley said “it is realized that consumers the world over have little protection when it comes to purchases conducted online”. He spoke to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adoption of the UN Guidelines for consumer protection, adding that the guidelines provide a sound framework with eight basic rights for Consumer Protection. These include the right to: satisfaction of basic needs; safety; be informed; choose; redress; consumer education; and the right to a healthy environment.

“The celebration of World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) helps to ensure that these rights are promoted and defended. Experience has shown that a shared philosophy and commitment by governments at the international level help to bolster efforts undertaken at the international level,” said the director. “As consumers, we must all internalize our basic rights and therefore help to build momentum to achieve a more consumer friendly country where suppliers of goods and services are held accountable in providing value for money, particularly, to the poor and most vulnerable in society.”

He explained that the first line of defense in consumer protection must begin with the consumer.

“We must scrutinize, compare and make wise decisions when making purchases. We must demand top class services and high quality goods, which would ensure consumer satisfaction. Consumers must always be aware that they keep their business doors open by patronizing these businesses,” he said. “The consuming public should be confident in knowing that there is a mechanism for redress when their rights are infringed upon and businesses should also be aware that the consumer, having been empowered with the knowledge of your rights including the right to take your business to their competitor, should act accordingly and provide top class service for these customers.”

Data from states that WCRD is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers, for demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and for protesting the market abuses and social injustices, which undermine them.