Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 18, 2019 (SKNIS): Four primary schools went head-to-head on March 15 to compete in the 4th annual Charleton Edwards Memorial Consumer Affairs Primary School Quiz Finals at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in observance of World Consumer Rights Day, which is celebrated annually on March 15.
Cayon Primary won the competition. Second place went to Beach Allen Primary, while Immaculate Conception Catholic School and St. Pauls Primary came third and fourth respectively.
Minister responsible for the Department of Consumer Affairs, Honourable Lindsay Grant, was present to distribute prizes.
Director of Consumer Affairs, Paul Queeley, said that consumer education is one of the primary functions of the department, adding that “while students may not be engaged in actual purchasing of goods and services they are often very influential in the purchasing decisions of their parents.” It is for this reason that the department uses the annual world celebration to conduct the quiz.
The theme for this year’s World Consumer Rights Day is “Trusted Smart Products”. Mr. Queeley said that the theme was chosen as “it has been realized that as more individuals continue to make use of devices such as smartphones, tablets and fitness monitors, it is important that the information gathered and stored within these devices is not easily accessible to hackers.”
“A compromised smart device often times has enough processing power and memory to house malware that can be transmitted to other devices on home networks,” he said. “For example, if a hacker gains access to a surveillance camera and reloaded the firmware with malware, that software programme could begin attacking other devices, exploiting vulnerabilities in Microsoft operating systems to infect personal computers and steal personal information.”
Mr. Queeley noted that smart device manufacturers that fail to deliver the level of security, reliability and privacy that customers demand, can lead to regulatory commercial and safety risks, adding that security fears may also hinder additional persons from purchasing these devices resulting in a loss in revenue for that company.
“The first line of defence in customer protection, however, begins with us the consumer,” he said. “We must scrutinize and make wise decisions when making purchases and we must demand top class service and high quality goods, which would ensure consumer satisfaction.”
The director stated that consumers must be cognizant of the fact that they are integral to the stability of the business.
“In a nutshell, the businesses need consumers more than the customers actually need them,” he said. “The consuming public must also be confident in knowing that there is a mechanism for redress when their right are infringed upon. Businesses should also be aware that you the consumer having been empowered with knowledge of your rights including your right to take your business to the competitor, can do so.”