OECS Equips Consumer Affairs Departments With Tablets For Increased Consumer Rights Protection

(OECS) – Consumer affairs departments across the Protocol Member States were supplied with tablet computers (tablets) from the OECS Commission to upgrade and transform their service capabilities. The initiative was driven by the growing need for efficient communication and accessibility in today’s fast-paced digital age.

Recognising this need, the OECS Commission under the 11th European Development Fund Regional Integration Through Growth Harmonisation and Technology (RIGHT) programme has collaborated with the consumer affairs departments to equip their price surveillance staff with tablets, enhancing their ability to deliver swift and responsive assistance to consumers. The tablets supplied boast advanced features designed to streamline workflow processes and improve overall productivity. With user-friendly interfaces and robust security measures, they provide consumer affairs personnel with the tools to efficiently monitor prices, handle consumer inquiries, resolve disputes, and further ensure consumer rights protection.

“We are excited to partner with the consumer affairs departments in their mission to uphold consumer rights and promote fair business practices,” said Director General, Dr. Didacus Jules. 

“By leveraging the features available in these tablets, we aim to empower consumer affairs professionals with the technological edge needed to deliver prompt and effective services to consumers, ultimately fostering trust and confidence in the marketplace. Consumer affairs departments are now poised to elevate their service standards and better serve the needs of consumers throughout the region.”

The deployment of these tablets underscores the OECS Commission’s commitment to driving innovation and fostering digital transformation in government agencies. In addition to the tablets, the OECS Commission under the RIGHT Programme plans to develop and implement an OECS Consumer Protection Portal. The initiative will offer an information communication technology (ICT) solution that can support institutional strengthening, public education, quality of service, and efficiency of consumer affairs departments.

The portal is intended to help improve the dissemination of consumer information and support the overall improvement of the consumer protection environment and economic space within the Eastern Caribbean Economic Union (ECEU). It is expected to have the capability of operating as a repository for consumer protection-related data such as controlled prices, complaints, and information related to consumer affairs such as policies and laws. The following are some of the proposed key features for the OECS Consumer Protection Portal:

  • A searchable information repository for sharing pertinent information and updates with consumers:
    • Consumer Protection Acts and Policies;
    • Consumer Rights and Responsibilities;
    • Who can file a complaint;
    • How a complaint is filed;
    • Outline of the process for redress;
    • Remedies available;
    • Consumer protection contact point;
    • Initiative for vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers;
    • Non-governmental consumer organisations/associations contact; and
    • Information about the consumer affairs departments
  • Price control and surveillance management.
  • A searchable database of controlled prices.
  • An online form for consumers to submit complaints.
  • A case management system or platform for tracking and responding to consumer complaints.

Consumer affairs departments’ reception of the tablets will play a key role in preparing and allowing officers to utilize the portal in the field for efficient data/information collection and management.