How was the consumer Affairs Authority established?
The consumer Affairs Authority was established by the Consumer Affairs Authority - Act No. 9 of 2003.
Whether Fair Trading Commission and the Department of Internal Trade are in existence?
No. The Fair Trading Commission and the Department of Internal Trade were abolished by the Consumer Affairs Authority - Act No. 9 of 2003.
What are the powers of the Authority?
- CAA has quasi judicial powers in respect of inquiries vide sections 13 & 32
- Powers to enter into written agreements with the manufacturer’s or traders on areas specified in the Act.
- To specify goods and services which are essential to the life of the community and regulation of the prices there of
- To determine standards and specifications relating to goods and supply of services (standards and specifications prescribed by the Sri-Lanka Standards Institution could also be adopted).
- The Authority has power to call for any information from traders.
- The Authority has power to sell perishable goods that are seized and detained under section 58 of the CAA Act.
- Offences under the act deemed to be cognizable offences, ie, power to search, take in to custody without a search warrant from the police.
- Certain offencers have been categorized as peace officers who could act in terms of the code of criminal procedures Act No. 15 of 1979.
What are the main functions of the organization?
- Handling of consumer complaints by Aggrieved Consumers.
- Handling of complaints by traders on anti- competitive practices and unfair trade practices.
- Conducting market investigations and market surveys.
- Specifying goods and services which are essential to the life of the community and regulating the prices of the goods and services.
- Consumer awareness and empowerment mainly by establishing consumer Organizations.
- Issuing of directives to traders and manufactures on labeling, packeting, price marking etc.
- Obtaining the required redress for the aggrieved and punishment of offenders through the judicial system.
- Warning of any trader or manufacturer in the case of first contravention of the provisions of CAA Act.
Who can obtain the services from the Consumer Affairs Authority?
Aggrieved Consumers and Traders.
How can a complainant or interested party make a complaint or obtain information?
Complaints should be addressed to Director General of the Authority.
Consumer Affairs Authority.
CWE Secretariat Building,
||+94 11-2399148 / +94 11-2399149
What are the main sections of the CAA Act which empower the Authority to conduct market investigations and raids?
Sections - 10,11,15,16,17,18, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31 and 61.
What is the mechanism adopted by the CAA in granting redress to aggrieved consumers?
A written complaint along with supportive documents which relates to the sale of goods or to the provision of service shall be sent to the authority within 3 months. An inquiry is held in to the complaint .After an inquiry the Authority shall order the trader or the manufacturer to pay compensation to the aggrieved party or to replace such goods or to refund the amount paid for such goods or the provision of services.
Whether any aggrieved consumer can make a complaint to the Authority even if there are regulatory bodies established for certain specific services?
Yes. Even if there are regulatory bodies established for specific purposes consumers can make complaints to the Authority as well where CAA plays the role of a monitoring body.
Should all complaints be made to the head office?
No. We have a district office network where any complaint could be made to such offices as well.
Requirements to be fulfilled by the aggrieved consumers when seeking any redress.
Complaint must be made in writing. It must be forwarded with the specified time by the Act. It should be supported to relevant documents.
Is any legal assistance required to lodge a complaint?
No. Any individual can lodge a complaint.
Is there any cost involvement for the service provided?
No. Cost is solely borne by the Authority.
Is there any form of price intervention in the market place at present?
Yes. There is price Supervision and intervention on price increases of certain specified essential commodities. This is basically implemented through section 18 of the Consumer Affairs Authority Act. No 9 of 2003, which became operative from 17th March 2003.
What is a "specified commodity"?
Any item of goods or services, which is considered as essential to the life of the community, may be “specified” as an essential commodity by the Hon. Minister in charge of the subject of Consumer Affairs.
What is the procedure for specifying an item?
Hon. Minister, in consultation of the Authority, acting under section 18 of the Act, Gazette would be published prescribing a specified item.
What are the specified items?
What is the intervention of the Authority on the prices of the specified items?
Manufacture or trader shall obtain the prior approval of the Authority to increase the price of a such item.
Who are required to make applications?
Any importer, manufacturer, or trader who wants to increase the price of the specified item above the level prevailing at the time of Gazetting the item under S.18(1) of the Act.
Which division of the CAA does the examination of price applications?
The Pricing & Management Division.
What is the manner of making an application?
By a letter signed by the CEO or other officer authorized by the company to do so, giving a description of the item, brand name, pack size, present price, proposed price and reasons for the price increase. The application should be addressed to the Director General of the Authority:
What are the contact details?
|Director, Pricing & Management.
|Senior Executive / Pricing.
Should any documents be attached to the application?
- Comprehensive Cost Structure, giving a breakdown of costs of individual elements of cost, for the prevailing price and the proposed price.
- Supporting documents, eg., Copies of Invoice, Letter of Credit,Bill of Lading, Packing List, Customs certified Customs Declaration Form (CUSDEC), Bank bills, invoices and receipts for landing , delivery and transport expenses, up to 1st go-downs.
- Invoices for packing and processing expenses.
- Description of all direct expenses, including labor and material.
- Analysis of indirect and overhead expenses, and basis of allocation, apportionment and recovery of overheads.
- Company profit margins, and basis.
- Distributor / Dealer and retailer margin.
- Charge for taxes.
- Copy of the latest audited Final accounts with notes and schedules thereon for the present period and for the period applicable for determining the current price.
- Any other information or document requested by the Authority to process the application.
A “SPECIMEN COST SHEET” is available on request. This can be suitably modified by the applicant to suit the peculiarities of the product or the industry.
What is the position of a shortage in the information or documents furnished?
The applicant will be duly requested to furnish the information, on or before a specified date, and applicant will also be informed by an inclusion of the following condition in the letter:
“Please note that your application for approval of the proposed price increase will be considered having being received by this Authority only on the submission of the above information and the receipt of any other documents or clarifications we may require in due course while examining the information supplied, or referring to other matters relevant to the subject.”
What will happen due to a failure on the part of the applicant to furnish the documents / information on time, or to give any assistance required to carry out the inquiry?
An Interim Order under Section 18(4) of the Act will be issued to the applicant prohibiting the applicant from increasing the price, until a decision is made by the Authority.
What is the validity period of the Interim Order?
Indefinite - until the information is furnished and decision communicated.
What is the period within which a decision will be communicated by the Authority?
Thirty days from the date the Authority having received a duly completed application together with all supporting information / clarifications / documents.
What is the manner of communicating a decision?
By facsimile & registered mail.