FTC To consumers: Be cautious at Crop Over
Barbadians and others participating in this year’s Crop Over are being advised, among other things, to check all contract terms and avoid misleading or deceptive information.
The advice is coming from the Fair Trading Commission (FTC), which has developed some special brochures for Crop Over that outline how people can be good consumers.
Persons who attended the FTC’s Consumer Outreach Programme recently at Sheraton Mall, would have been among the first to avail themselves of the information.
Director of Consumer Protection, Dava Leslie-Ward, explaining the rationale for the Crop Over tidbits said: “At this time, we see a different type of questioning. Sometimes individuals would ask questions about costumes or maybe some gym contracts that they would have engaged in.
“Persons might have signed up for a specific type of contract, and you know when you are in the midst of Crop Over and you are trying to look good for the season, you accept the contract. And, then you don’t realise that it may have implications after the season has ended. So, those are the types of issues we would have at this time.”
The FTC official also had a warning for those who frequent social media. She said sometimes persons strolling through one of the more popular sites would see ads popping up encouraging them to join a gym for Crop Over for a six-week or eight-week programme but they needed to be cautious.
“Those are very popular at this time. So what we are trying to advise consumers to do is to ask the person: ‘Do you have any contractual terms?’; ‘What happens if I can’t complete it?’; ‘Do I still have to pay the entire fee?’; ‘How do I have to pay it?’, ‘Do I have to pay all the money up front or is it payable in installments?’ and finally, ‘What if I miss one of those installments?’” said the Director of Consumer Protection.
Explaining further about questions that relate specifically to jumping on Kadooment Day, Mrs. Leslie Ward said: “For example, you would get some persons who said that ‘may be they had their costume and after they left the band house they would have gone and put it down’ and may be on the day they looked at it they realised that something was wrong.”
“You know there is no way to tell at that time if the error would have occurred at home or if it would have occurred at the band house. So, we are trying to advise them to avoid that. When you are leaving, make sure you look at the costume or let’s say you are entering into the contract, the first thing I would say is make sure you read it, make sure you have an understanding of it!”
The FTC’s Consumer Outreach Days will continue tomorrow, Friday, July 20, at Cave Shepherd, Broad Street and again on Friday, July 27, at Abed’s on Swan Street.