THROUGHOUT the months of June and July 2015, the Information Unit of the Consumer Affairs Department of the Ministry of Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs embarked on an extensive educational exercise with businesses that conduct Lay Away transactions.
The objective of these island-wide interactions was to reinforce to these businesses their obligations when conducting these transactions in accordance with the Consumer Credit Act, No. 29 of 2006.
Thus far, the Unit has met with seventy-eight (78) businesses in Castries, Rodney Bay, Soufriere, Choiseul and Vieux Fort. These businesses have all welcomed this informative drive; many of which were aware of the aforementioned Act.
It was against this background that the Department saw the urgent need to heighten its outreach programme regarding the provisions contained in the Consumer Credit Act.
Among the provisions stipulated therein are:
1) “A seller shall not apply interest charges to the purchase price of any good on the Lay Away Plan.”
2) “A seller shall serve or cause to be served on the consumer within fourteen days after the making of a Lay Away Plan a copy of the Lay Away Plan.”
3) “A consumer may, at any time before the final payment under a Lay Away Plan falls due, be entitled to cancel the Lay Away Plan by giving notice of cancellation in writing to the seller.”
4) “Where a consumer defaults in paying installments on the Lay Away Plan, the seller shall be entitled to cancel the Lay Away Plan by giving the consumer notice of cancellation in writing.”
5) Where a Lay Away Plan is cancelled pursuant to subsection (2) a seller may retain a cancellation fee which shall not exceed five percent of the purchase price.”
It is hoped that this exercise will minimize and prevent, as much as possible, any misunderstanding between businesses and consumers engaging in Lay Away transactions but would rather enhance and ensure greater clarity for future conduct of such business transactions.
Both businesses and consumers are urged to avail themselves with a copy of the Consumer Credit Act, No. 29 of 2006; which does not only address the Lay Away Plan but also speaks to Hire Purchase and Credit Sales. This Act is available at the National Printing Corporation located at the corner of Laborie and Jeremie Streets in Castries at an affordable cost.
Ministry of Commerce, Business Development,
Investment and Consumer Affairs
Heraldine Rock Building