Refusing to accept a receipt after a purchase thereby agreeing not to pay the Value Added Tax [VAT] could at times have daunting consequences for shoppers. This is according to Public Relations Officer, attached to the Guyana National Bureau of Standards [GNBS], Mr. Lloyd David.
David in a recent sensitisation discussion advised, “don’t refuse the receipts because you could avoid VAT and then afterwards the item becomes defective and the supplier doesn’t remember you, and you have no receipt to show.”
Moreover, he said that shoppers should be especially cautious during the busy shopping period because of the Christmas holiday. Without a receipt, David noted that it would not be surprising if a supplier or proprietor does not accept the word of a shopper that he or she purchased particular item on a particular date. For this very reason, he insisted that “receipts are very important.”
As a reminder to shoppers, the GNBS has been seeking to sensitise shoppers about the need to be especially vigilant while shopping during the Christmas season. In this regard, David has been sharing useful tips via radio stations and the daily newspapers.
According to David, there are many things that consumers need to be vigilant about, including hire purchase.
He noted that while shoppers may be forced into a hire purchase contract because of their inability to pay cash, there is still a great need to take precaution.
“You need to be cautious when you are actually going through and signing all of those pieces of paper [hire purchase contract],” said David, as he highlighted that not only can contracts be wordy, but they can also include some fine print that shoppers may not be inclined to pay attention to.
As such, he urged that shoppers “Read the fine print! You need to be careful with that [the fine print] to know what it means to you…what is it going to do for you and so forth…go through the entire document before you sign; read the fine print once you can.”
He underscored that even if shoppers may lack the capacity or are unable to read the contract for some reason, they should seek to have someone explain the various sections of the contract before proceeding to affix their signature.
Added to this, he stressed the need for shoppers to thoroughly examine the item they will actually receive. This is important, David said, since the item being purchased may be delivered in a few days and is likely to come from a warehouse.
“So you need to don’t just put that item in the corner and say [you will deal with it] when you are finished cleaning up the house. Have them check it when the delivery guys drop it. [If possible] let them install and prove that it is working before they go away. So don’t just tuck it in the box and wait until you are ready for it,” David urged.
But there are even more things shoppers should be vigilant about. These, according to David, include paying attention to the warranty on items being purchased. For instance, he highlighted, that when a shopper opts to purchase electrical appliances and big ticket items that are costly, like generators, what they do not know sometimes is that the manufacturer usually passes on a warranty to the business.
As such, he advised that when making such purchases, shoppers are well within their rights to ask for their warranty.
“Find out how much warranty you have [or are entitled to]…Whether it is one year, two years or three years. You need to find out about your warranty…” David asserted, as he explained that a warranty should be a written document.
“Sometimes it is on the receipt and some cover repairs, replacement, refunds, and how long the warranty should be,” said David, as he pointed out that the Consumers Affairs Legislation requires that suppliers offer a minimum of six months warranty.
However, some manufactures, he noted, have been known to give more than six months warranty. But according to him, “some importers, what they do, [because] they know that they have a two-year warranty on the item, they make you decide if you want to accept one or two [years] warranty. Some take it a bit up and say you know what ‘we can give you a four or five years warranty’ but you are going to pay for that additional warranty…and that is the new practice,” David related.
He, however, cautioned that “it is up to you to say ‘no I don’t want that warranty because it is going to add to my cost or my overhead’ or you can say ‘you know what, just in case this item goes bad, I need to know that I am protected.”
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