(Photo Credit: Clifton Skelton/BVI Platinum News)
The matter of product recall is one of the areas addressed in the Consumer Protection Bill; and while the steps or actions businesses should take as it relates to consumer refunds was clear, at least one business owner was concerned about whether government was open to offering customs duties subsidy for business owners to replace the recalled items.
The discussion on recalls and the possible subsidy was broached following a presentation from Consultant with the Department of Trade, Ayiesha de Coteau-Sammy.
In her presentation, the Consultant said, “It should be noted that if a consumer does have the product and they see that it was recalled, they do have the recourse to come to you and ask for the refund.”
“If it’s on an international level that usually would stand because you have the opportunity to return to whoever supplied it to you once your product is recalled...Once that product has been recalled, you have to assume refunds, to give the option for refund or an exchange for something of equal value or something to offset what the persons would have lost...," Coteau-Sammy explained.
In querying the section of the legislation and the possibility of a subsidy, a business owner asked, “If there is a recall on products and we have to pull them back from market, when I am purchasing or have to replenish that inventory, what are the concessions given on customs duties. I have to pay duties on those products again that were recalled?”
The response was provided by Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie, who explained that the subsidy was a matter to be considered. However, he suggested that the Government would be open to offering such a concession.
“That would have to be something that Government would have to do in some other legislation, but it would have to be that the Government would allow for concessions in that area to help, because it’s not the supplier's fault. That is something that Government will make sure that they are being considerate; it was not there originally, so now that you mentioned it, it’s something that we have to implement,” the Premier said.