We, Sri Lankans, are very different breed of humans, we fight for fifty cents with a roadside vendor, but we happily pay an extra 100 rupees to corporates and industry biggies, we are first to bargain with poor boutique shop owners and we never ask a question when it comes to a supermarket or a big restaurant.
Recently, a topic sparked a FACEBOOK war on selling water bottles more than the marked retail price at a fancy restaurant, some warriors were ok with the over price, some warriors said it was wrong and the restaurant cannot sell more than the maximum retail price, some said that if the restaurant serves the water then they have the right to charge more, some said the extra price is to compensate the A/C and other related costs of restaurant (should be the owners of the restaurant). The war still continues and all these arguments and assumptions are due to the fact “Consumers Don’t know their Rights”
Let’s look at how to handle such violations of consumer rights and where to complain, luckily, Sri Lanka has a Consumer Affairs authority under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, they are committed to safeguarding consumer rights, handle consumer complaints, safeguard consumers from abusive trade practices and educate consumers about their rights and responsibilities. There are enough provisions for getting actions against errant traders under the Consumer Affairs Authority Act no. 09 of 2003. Furthermore, CAA has powers to handle Consumer Complaints sent by aggrieved Consumers.
As a consumer, we have some responsibility to do, we have to support local business to grow, however, we should never support an errant practice of business and consumers can make their complaints to
Consumer Affairs Authority,
No 27, Vauxhall Street,
Hot Line: 1977
Consumer Complaint unit: 011-7755481-2-3
Consumer Rights & Responsibilities
The right to satisfaction of basic needs
To have access to basic essential goods and services: adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, education, public utilities, water and sanitation.
The right to safety
To be protected, production against products, processes and services which are hazardous to health or life
The right to be informed
To get information to make an informed choice, and to be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising and labelling
The right to choose
To be able to select from a range of products and services, offered at competitive prices with an assurance of satisfactory quality.
The right to be heard
To have consumer interests represented in formulating and execution of government policy, and in the development of products and services
The right to redress
To receive a fair settlement of just claims including compensation for misrepresentation, substandard goods or unsatisfactory services
The right to consumer education
To acquire knowledge and skills needed to make informed, confident choices about goods and services, while being aware of basic consumer rights and responsibilities and how to act on them
The right to a healthy environment
To live and work in an environment which is non-threatening to the well-being of present and future generations
Types of Offences
- Removing, altering, obliterating, erasing or defacing of a label or description or price mark of any goods and producing such a good for sale.
- Violation of directions issued to manufacturers or traders in respect of labelling, price marking, packeting relative to manufacturing, importing, marketing, stoking, sale or manufacture of selling and stocking of goods or on any other conditions.
- Sale or offer to sell any goods above the marked price.
- Failure to comply with the standards and specifications relating to goods and services determined by the CAA.
- Manufacture or sale of any goods which does not conform to the warranty or guarantee given by the manufacturer or trader.
- Contravenes any provision of any written agreement enters in to with the Authority with any manufacturers or traders of goods provide for maximum price, the standard of any goods manufactured or any condition required on the manufacturer.
- Refusing to sell goods in possession.
- Denial of goods in possession and imposing conditions on the consumer upon purchase.
- Keeping the goods in custody excess of normal trading requirements.
- Increase the price of any specified good or service without the prior written approval of the Authority.
- Fails or refuse to display the price list or price board in the place of business.
- Not issue or refuse to issue a bill or receipt when demand by the purchaser.
- Engaged in conduct that is misleading or deceptive the consumer by trader or business.
- False representation that any goods or services are of a particular standard, quality or grade, or that goods are of a particular style or model, or that goods and services have sponsorship, approval, performance characteristics, accessories, uses or benefits that they do not have.
- Violation of conditions pledged in the warranty or guarantee by implication or otherwise on the supply of goods and services.
- Prevailing anti-competitive behaviours or monopoly situations.
- Failure to maintain records as required by the Authority or to furnish any information or to produce any documents to the Authority to discharge its duty.
Reference: CAA Website – http://www.caa.gov.lk/