At the advent of the month of March, the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) like other consumers protection bodies is gearing up to participate in a number of activities to highlight its role in consumer protection.
These activities are steered towards World Consumer Rights Day, which is commemorated annually on March 15. During this month, significant focus will be placed on educating consumers across the country on their rights and responsibilities during the purchase and use of good and services.
Since its establishment in March 1984, the GNBS has been providing consumer protection through the services it offers to various stakeholders. The GNBS has been at the forefront in the protection of consumers through facilitating the development of standards.
The organisation also acts to make many of these standards compulsory. When standards are made compulsory (Technical Requirement) they are enforced by various regulatory agencies, including the Bureau, to protect the health and safety of consumers (e.g. labelling standards).
Consumers are also protected through the verification of weighing and measuring devices used in trade such as scales, weights, measures and fuel pumps. Accuracy and fitness for use is established when these devices are verified by the GNBS, and this prevents consumers from getting incorrect measurements when making purchases.
Through its Goods Inspection Programme, the Bureau monitors a number of products including household electrical appliances, cellular phones, gas stoves and electricity meters etc. to ensure compliance with requirements outlined in national labeling and quality standards.
Substandard products are held for corrective actions, are confiscated or destroyed by the GNBS to prevent distribution to consumers.
The Bureau also provides testing services including the testing of gold jewellery to ensure that the declarations made regarding the karat or purity are true. In addition, capacity is being built to test concrete (hollow) blocks and this will improve the quality of blocks available for construction of buildings, fences and other structures.
To provide confidence to consumers, products are certified by the GNBS to National Standards, and the National Standards Mark is affixed. This mark tells consumers that these products have been inspected and tested, and comply with the requirements set out in the respective standards.
This also assists consumers to make wise choices regarding the quality of products they purchase.
The GNBS offers protection to consumers through education and information. This is done using Print and Digital Media, the Bureau issues timely advisories and warnings concerning defective or unsafe products and services.
Information is also provided to students of primary and secondary schools via lectures and on site tours to the organisation. Other opportunities to share consumer information include visits to the outlying Regions of Guyana, participation in exhibition and trade fairs, and during the conduct of symposia, workshops and training sessions.
Finally, business support services offered by the GNBS are ultimately intended to protect consumers. These services assist companies to implement management system standards such as the Quality Management System (ISO 9001) and the Food Safety Management Standard (ISO 22000). The implementation of these standards ensures that consumers are satisfied with products and services they procure and allows safe foods to be made available for consumption.
As the GNBS and other consumer protection bodies declare the month of March 2019, the month of the consumer, it encourages businesses to strive to provide consumers with products and services that satisfy their needs.
Meanwhile, consumers are urged to understand their rights and responsibilities, and to always make quality their first option.
For further information, contact the GNBS on telephone numbers: 219-0062. Please visit our website: www.gnbsgy.org and like our Facebook page: gnbsgy
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