CCAA gets 15 consumer complaints and actively redresses them

In a resolute response to unethical business practices, the Consumer Complaints & Appeals Authority (CCAA) in Thimphu took stringent measures to protect consumers’ rights in August 2023. The authority received 15 complaints, signaling a firm stance against dishonest businesses.

Out of the 15 complaints received, 80 percent were individual grievances, where consumers sought redress for personal issues. The remaining cases were general in nature, affecting multiple consumers due to deceptive business practices.

Most grievances were directed towards businesses violating terms and conditions, with price misrepresentation being a significant concern. Several complaints surfaced about contaminated high-speed diesel (HSD) fuel, initially at the Ramtokto Petroleum Retail Outlet (PRO) and later at Chubachu PRO.

The nature of complaints included other unethical business practices, defective products, substandard quality, price misinterpretation, and breach of terms and conditions.

The CCAA’s proactive approach led to the inspection of seven Petroleum Retail Outlets (PROs) in Thimphu, ensuring compliance with regulations.

These inspections, which commenced on August 24, 2023, aimed to verify various factors such as precise fuel dispensing, accurate pricing display, issuance of correct receipts, and adherence to safety standards. All inspected PROs were found compliant, adhering to guidelines outlined in “Storage, Handling, and Dispensing of Fuels at the Fuel Retail Outlets.”

The seven PROS covered were: Damchen Petroleum Distrubtor Pvt. Ltd. in Changzamtog and Semtokha; Bhutan Oil Distrubtor in Mothithang and Lungtenzampa; Druk Petroleum Corporation Ltd. in Chubachu; STCBL in Ramtoktok; and Druk Petroluem Corporation Ltd. at Langdro under Thimphu.

CCAA effectively mediated disputes between owners of specific electric vehicle brands and a supplier. Although attempts at amicable resolutions were made, these disputes were escalated to the Dispute Settlement Committee (DSC) of Thimphu Thromde, where final verdicts were reached.

A dispute over advertised mileage between Kuenphen Motors and 90 taxi drivers of MG and NETA electric vehicles has escalated to the Thimphu district court. The Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority’s Dispute Settlement Committee had directed Kuenphen Motors to compensate Nu 30,000 to each dissatisfied EV owner.

Complaints centred on alleged inconsistencies in mileage and specifications. The drivers argue the compensation is insufficient, while Kuenphen Motors contends that mileage is beyond their control and prices were set according to regulatory standards. The court is expected to address these claims in the ongoing legal battle.

Meanwhile, CCAA has facilitated refunds totaling Nu 16,937 to five affected consumers, ranging from Nu 180 to Nu 5,200. Additionally, 72 vehicles damaged by contaminated fuel were assured repairs by Druk Petroleum Corporation Ltd. and STCBL. Both companies received rectification letters mandating the implementation of stringent safety measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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