Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 27, 2021 (SKNIS): Trista Wattley-Stennett, Senior Consumer Affairs Officer within the Department of Consumer Affairs, said that the department prides itself on educating consumers on their rights and responsibilities, as it provides the public with the information needed on products and services to make well-informed decisions on what they are purchasing and from whom.
“One of the main purposes is to educate people on their rights and responsibilities. I would say [the department] not only protects the consumers but educates them also. Consumer Affairs is not about pricing alone, as most people would think we deal with prices…” said Mrs. Wattley-Stennett during the August 25 edition of ‘Working for You’.
Mrs. Wattley-Stennett said that the department continuously receives complaints on supermarket prices. However, they explain to consumers that the supermarkets are guided by a markup range that is added into the total cost incurred by the producer of a good or service to cover the cost of doing business and create a profit.
“…The supermarkets have a markup range and once they stick within the markup range there is nothing we can do pertaining to the pricing. Take, for example, supermarket A might have its markup to be from nine (9) to fifteen (15) percent, some supermarkets might take the 9 percent, some might take the 15 percent,” she said. “So once they stay within that range, and it all depends on the price that they purchase the items for, [we can’t do anything]. The markup will consist of the price that they purchase for, the shipping and insurance and, of course, their profit margin.”
Information from the department’s Facebook page states that the Consumer Affairs Department, which was established to inform, educate and empower consumers to protect themselves in the marketplace, will continue to foster a business environment where ethical relations between providers and customers can thrive.