Letters to the Editor: Consumer Protection Laws and Regulations in Anguilla

By anguillian March 29, 2016 10:28



For years I have wondered about the Consumer Protection Laws and Regulations in Anguilla, more specifically those that involve fair trade and a greater transparency about the goods and services provided by grocery stores in Anguilla. I recently inquired about the laws and regulations governing relations between service providers and consumers and the effective enforcement mechanism(s) set in place to ensure fair trade but I never received a reply.
During one of my visits to Anguilla in August 2011, I purchased a container of ice cream from one of the popular grocery stores on the island. My trip from the store to the house was approximately eight minutes long; I opened the ice cream shortly after arriving home and it was still frozen. The top layer of the ice cream appeared to have crystallized and the ice cream smelled like alcohol; I noticed the smell while scooping the ice cream into a bowl. In short, the ice cream was spoiled.
As the consumer, I was not satisfied. I do understand that in the food service industry things can go array and accidents happen. Approximately 30 minutes after purchasing the ice cream, I was back at the store and upon asking to speak with a manager, I was met with a combative customer service representative who insisted that I came back because I had enough ice cream to eat. The rancid smell and crystallization of the ice cream was an indication of improper storage. After threatening to alert the store owner of what had happened, I was encouraged to get another container of ice cream out of the freezer, but after such service I examined the ice cream in front of the customer service representative before leaving the store.
I am an Anguillian who is currently living abroad; I have an academic background in Food Safety/Food Quality and Control. The experience I had in Anguilla in 2011 has prompted me to examine foods before making a purchase at any grocery store in Anguilla as I have come to realize that Consumer Protection Laws and Regulations are questionable when it comes to small trades like those made at stores/grocery stores. I have visited Anguilla many times since 2011 and there have been many occasions that I have seen stale and expired items on the shelves at various stores that fall into the following categories: medicines, beverages, breads and meats/vegetarian proteins. I have brought those items to the attention of the store employees only to find the exact same items on the shelves days later.
Just a few weeks ago, I purchased a bottle of fruit juice that was stored on the shelf at a grocery store in Anguilla. The expiration date had not passed and I assumed that the drink was safe enough for my toddler to consume. When I opened the juice, gas escaped and the juice was rancid, an indication that fermentation had occur. The juice was spoiled and more than likely from incorrect storage, perhaps it was stored in the sun or in high temperatures. Had I not been aware of these signs of spoilage and gave the juice to my toddler to drink, I might have been sitting with him at the hospital that night. The health effects of eating expired food range from “none” to “severe.” It all depends on what food you eat and when you eat it. For example, eating a broccoli a day over its expired date usually won’t pose health problems. However, eating a piece of pork three weeks past its best can cause an upset stomach and probably a serious case of food poisoning. Some food stored past its use-by date in poor conditions can even become contaminated with the serious bacterial infections salmonella or listeria.

I know without a doubt that I am not the only consumer who have had such experiences because I’ve heard similar stories; however, when I suggest returning the item(s) in question I usually get a response like “This is Anguilla you know.” If we continue with this way of thinking, we will continue to allow others to rob the change out of our pockets while putting ourselves at risk for various health complications. The Consumer Protection laws originally passed in England in the year 1893 and since then revised states that “where there is a contract for the sale of specific goods, and the goods without the knowledge of the seller have perished at the time when the contract is made, the contract is void.”

-Concerned Anguillian

By anguillian March 29, 2016 10:28

    I would like to inquire with regards to companies registered/incorporated in Anguilla which scammed their clients/customers and the recourse available to clients/customers.


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