The Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) recorded 88 complaints in January and February 2022, of which 81 complaints have been successfully resolved, with aggrieved consumers being compensated, unethical practices being rectified, and business entities penalized. The remaining seven cases are under mediation or investigation.
Out of the 88 complaints, 57 were based on unethical trade practices and misrepresentation, 20 on service terms and conditions commitment failure, and 11 on contaminated and faulty products. The misrepresentation consists of claims that are not proven or backed up by science. One of the ongoing cases is on Karma Feeds.
Grievances were also shared on the social media platform, one of which was the video on the diluted or watery Keventer milk being sold in the market, and the people raised concerns over whether it was adulterated, and who was responsible for it. OCP, in collaboration with BAFRA, talked to the supply company in Kolkata to give an explanation on the matter.
“We will write to the company because we want to ensure that these kind of incidents don’t happen again in the future. The aggrieved consumer has already been refunded for the faulty product,” said the Chief Trade Officer of OCP, Gopal Pradhan.
The BAFRA focal person, Kubir, said that the problem was only encountered with just one package of the product.
“It doesn’t seem the product had been adulterated or anything, but rather, it seems to have been an unintentional leakage of trial samples from the factory and purely accidental, or so. At least that was the conclusion reached. In the future, if such events persist, it will not be tolerated and necessary actions will be taken, as it is not only a matter of food safety but also public panic. For now, we are investigating the market for additional faulty products,” Kubir said.
It has been observed that the imported commodities are usually sold above the MRP in almost all the shops in Thimphu.
“Regarding that, there is neither the mandate nor the act for price on the imported products being sold above MRP. In other words, we have no control over the price of imported commodities; how they want to sell and distribute in the market, it’s up to them. Another fact is that the market prices of most items have been hiked recently due to fuel prices, inflation, COVID-19 restrictions, and the overall economic situation. However for local products, OCP can enforce the laws for MRP, and there is a need for that too,” said Gopal Pradhan.
OCP under MoEA is mandated to promote and protect economic interest and safety of the consumers, raise awareness on consumers’ rights and responsibilities, and ensure redressal of grievances.