Consumers need a voice? Anyone listening?

You’d think that in a country where people like to raise their voices and complain about many things, that a vocal consumer organisation would be a natural thing. But, as far as I can see, it’s mute. I’m prepared to be proved wrong, but I’m just going on my own experience.

I tried to do a little exploration today to see what the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) of Jamaica does. I found a really good-looking website Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 11.26.40 AMand the kind of tool that would really make life easy for many: an online price comparison survey that seemed quite comprehensive. But, it just gave me nothing when I queried. Does it work? Is it tired? Is it a work in progress? I couldn’t tell.

I thought I’d do the old-fashioned thing and call the office. I saw that the organisation had recently moved, but had 10 ready landlines to deal with customers. I soon got a reply. The lady couldn’t help me directly, but she passed me to the research department, and there I am still. Waiting for someone to reply to my message left by voice mail. I’m not going to say much more about CAC for the moment, and give them a chance to show they are not cack-handed.

I saw that CAC has a nice-looking page on Facebook.Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 11.21.53 AM  I see that it’s been updated within the past 24 hours–that’s encouraging. I decided to ‘follow’ the page, so will see what updates roll my way. I’m trying to be open-minded.

Maybe, it’s a case of what you don’t have you don’t miss, but surely in this modern age, where aggregating information and having feedback from users, a vibrant consumer advocacy body would be easier to develop and stronger.

Maybe, I’m mistaken to think that Jamaicans actually want their voices heard, as opposed to hearing themselves talk.

I’m going to tackle this simple little hill and see where it leads. CAC, I’m waiting…