June 22, 2007
Ministry of trade sends warning to importers

This country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Trade has sent a stern warning to car importers who are not following stipulated regulations, that they will be penalized.

In a letter dated June 2nd 2007, the ministry reminded the over 15 known vehicle importers of their responsibilities to the ministry and consumers.{{more}}

The ministry stated that it was aware that some importers are not displaying the prices of their vehicles and were also overcharging consumers on the mark up prices. Both practices the ministry considers unacceptable.

An officer in the Ministry stated that the ministry has noticed that seasoned importers are the ones who are most guilty of these practices, and they have an obligation to refund customers any money they over charge.

The officer said that to date the ministry has caused dealers to reimburse tens of thousands of dollars to consumers, and a number of cases are before the Director of Public Prosecution to be dealt with in court.

The heightened awareness by consumers came about following a series of consumer awareness programmes conducted by the ministry, which sparked concerns from persons who felt that they had been overcharged.

According to the official, attempts are made to settle the matter with importers before taking legal steps.

The official also went on to state that most of the dealers are usually cooperative, however dealers who refuse to cooperate could find themselves paying fines ranging from $750 to $8000 if found at fault by the court.

The ministry is advising consumers to contact the ministry to verify the cost of the vehicle before finalizing a deal with an importer. The consumer should also ask to see the calculation sheet of the vehicle.

It is also advised that the consumer ensure that the price of the vehicle is displayed.

The ministry official also reminded consumers that a vehicle imported for private use is still under price control regulations for one year, and the seller will have to adhere to the regulations if they intend to sell within that year.(JJ)