81 consumer complaints from July to December 2022 of which 79 are resolved

According to progress report of Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (CCAA) under Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Employment, for the period of July 2022 and December 2022, there were a total of 81 consumer complaints, with the highest being recorded in July and the lowest in October. 93 percent of the complaints were individual complaints.

79 of the 81 complaints have been addressed or redressed to the consumer’s complete satisfaction. Similarly, all general complaints about unfair trade practices were investigated and improper practices were corrected.

As per the report, Thimphu had the most complaints throughout the period, with 54, followed by Paro Dzongkhag with 8. Tsirang, Haa, Punakha, Bumthang, Gasa, and Sarpang had no complaints.

The toll-free phone number and online complaint system on the CCAA’s website were the most commonly used, with 33.35 percent using the toll-free number and 34.56 percent using the online system. With 8.64 percent, the official Facebook page was the least used medium, though this is projected to increase over time as the page gains followers.

The report stated that the CCAA facilitated money refund, product replacement or repairs in 37 cases, including refund of Nu 695,237 to aggrieved consumers.

A total of 15 incidents of unfair business practices were resolved by administrative action, including the imposition of fines. There were also complaints that went outside the scope of the CCAA (e.g. criminal in character) or were misconstrued due to the complainant’s lack of information of rules and regulations or inaccuracy in their own judgments. In such circumstances, an explanation or advice on the proper course of action is typically sufficient.

CCAA investigates and mediates all individual complaints against businesses. If mediation fails, the matter is referred to the Dispute Settlement Committee (DSC) of that municipality. The CCAA finances and facilitates the DSC hearings. During this time, two cases were referred to the Thimphu and Gelephu Thromde Dispute Settlement Committee (DSC).

During the lockdowns this office which was known as the OCP fined several shops for overcharging prices.

The higher number of complaints also shows better awareness among consumers about their rights and also shows the success of the advocacy done by the agency at various levels.  

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