The Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) as the National Standards Body is mandated to provide consumer protection through the services it offers. As Guyana joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Consumer Rights Day on Wednesday March 15, 2017, under the theme “Building a Digital World Consumers can Trust” lets us salute Consumer Bodies for their efforts in protecting consumer rights.
The GNBS has been at the forefront in the protection of consumers through facilitating the development of standards and 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 being cheated.
Through its Standards Compliance Programme, the Bureau monitors a number of products including household electrical appliances, cellular phones and gas stoves to ensure compliance with requirements outlined in national labeling and quality standards. In addition, complaints made by consumers regarding such products are investigated to provide the necessary redress.
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 to National Standards, and the National Standards Mark is affixed, which tells consumers that these products have been inspected and tested, and comply with the requirements set out in the respective national standards. This also assists consumers to make wise choices regarding the quality of products they purchase.
GNBS encourages consumers to shop with their rights and responsibilities in mind
The GNBS offers protection to consumers through education and information. Utilizing the print and electronic media, the Bureau issues timely advisories and warnings concerning defective or unsafe products and services.
According to Consumer International, “World Consumer Rights Day is a time for promoting the basic rights of consumers, for demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and for protesting the market abuses and social injustices which undermine consumers.” Like Consumer International, the GNBS strongly believes that the protection of consumers is a 24/7 business that is all encompassing. Consumer protection is necessary to ensure the right goods and services are available, and all financial and other private information is protected as consumers conduct business transactions in the digital world.
World Consumer Rights Day 2017 – “Building a digital world consumers can trust”