CAA now open for SMS complaints

By Sarah Hannan

The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has introduced a mechanism whereby consumers can send in their complaints through SMS, in addition to the call and online avenues that were already available.

Speaking to The Sunday Morning, CAA Director Asela Bandara said that through this system the public can send in their complaints directly to their relevant district heads via SMS, stating the offence, name, and address of the shop.

“We urge the public to assist us by reporting such incidents and we have published the contact number of our provincial assistant directors and district heads on our Facebook page.”

This decision had been made due to the current situation in the country and to expedite complaint resolution through its provincial and district officers, Bandara stated.

Prior to this, the CAA accepted consumer complaints only through their website, hotline 1977, and Consumer Complaint Unit 0117 755 481.

He added that further legal action will be taken against such shops once the country overcomes the current situation.

The CAA is not conducting raids currently, as it would inconvenience the consumers who come to purchase goods in the limited time that is given to them between curfew periods.

“We are noting down the name of the shop and the offence they have committed. Legal action will be taken against them once the country’s situation returns to normal. For now, we are only monitoring the activities,” Bandara said.

With the entire country being under curfew, there were several incidents over the past few days where shop owners as well as online delivery services had attempted to sell goods at exorbitant rates.

The most notable incident was reported when the online shopping site Kapruka had overcharged its consumers for essential goods they were selling on their website. The management of Kapruka had been advised by the CAA to reimburse the extra cost to their consumers and were informed that legal action would be taken against them in the near future.

Given the present situation, the CAA will only monitor the errant traders and advise them to sell goods at the prices published through the CAA, and would not pursue further action.

When asked as to how many errant traders have been identified so far in this period, Bandara said that since the complaints are being handled at the district and provincial level, they are yet to collate the data.