There are three main laws in Bermuda that govern businesses and service providers in how they conduct business with consumers.
These laws exist to make sure that traders deal fairly with consumers. They exist to protect the consumer, but businesses also benefit because these laws:
- outlaw disreputable business practices;
- encourage fair competition between businesses;
- offer businesses better protection from anti-competitive practices.
If a business does not abide by these laws, awards of damages can be made against them, hefty fines can be levied and/or key personnel could face imprisonment if the infraction warrants it.
These are the key facts outlined in these laws:
- Whenever goods are bought they must conform to contract (in other words, they should meet the standards that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory);
- It is the seller, not the manufacturer, who is responsible if goods do not conform to contract;
- If goods do not conform to contract at the time of sale (i.e. are faulty), purchasers can request their money back within a reasonable time. (This is unspecified and will depend on circumstances);
- If a part of the goods does not conform to contract, then the consumer can reject those goods that do not conform and keep those that do, and thus be entitled to compensation for those goods that don’t.
- The act provides for a warranty when one is not offered by the retailer
- The sale of goods and services is an “invite to treat” which is an action inviting other parties to make an offer to form a contract.
- A supplier of a service must carry out that service with the same reasonable care and skill that is set by a person trained and practiced in that discipline;
- If no definite date has been set for time of completion then the work must be completed within a reasonable time;
- If no price has been set, then the charge must be reasonable. A reasonable price would be judged by the standard costing for that particular service;
- This Act protects consumers from unfair business practices, unconscionable acts and unsafe consumer goods;
- Unfair business practices are covered under section 11 of the Act and include false or misleading representations to consumers about products and services;
- Unconscionable acts can be just as damaging and include excessively one-sided contracts that benefit only the trader, grossly overpriced products and entering into a contract with a consumer who you know lacks the capacity to understand it;
- Consumer Affair’s inspectors have the power to enter premises, seize products and documents and make test purchases of the goods;
- Violation of the Act can impose a maximum of $15,000 fine and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months.
How to learn more about Consumer Affairs?
The Consumer Affairs Education Officer is responsible for educating both the consumer and the business community in all aspects of the Consumer Protection Act 1999, Supply of Services (Implied Terms) Act 2003, the Copyright and Design Act 2004, Sale of Goods Act 2007, Rent Increases (Domestic Premises) Control Act 1978 and all other Consumer Related legislation that deals with the purchase of goods and services. Please contact us if you are interested in a presentation, lunch and learn, hands on training or just want more information.
Call (441) 27297-7627 or email email@example.com for further information.