Consultancy Period: Consumer Amendments

November 17, 2010

The Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry today [Nov 17] announced a two-week public consultation period on proposed amendments to Bermuda’s Consumer Protection Act.

The objective of the consultation process is to solicit feedback from local businesses on any potential challenges proposed amendments to the 1999 law might have on their firms.

The Minister, Senator Kim Wilson, said: “These changes to the Consumer Protection Act are intended to provide further protection to businesses and consumers and it is important that local business operators carefully review the proposed amendments and send any concerns they may have to the Department of Consumer Affairs by November 30.”

The proposed amendments include giving legal clarification to the words “estimate” and “quote” as the practice of using both terms interchangeably in Bermuda will no longer be acceptable.

Further amendments address the practice of service providers taking the liberty of doing extra work which was not agreed upon to inflate bills. Providers of goods and services to consumers will no longer be allowed to go beyond the original agreements entered into without first obtaining the consent of the consumer.

In addition, providers of goods and services can no longer require a consumer to pay 100 percent of the price as a deposit for goods and services they have not received.  Providers and consumers can agree to a deposit of up to 50 percent if it is reasonable to do so in respect of the particular transaction of the estimated price or quoted price.

As a further measure to protect consumers, providers of goods and services will be in contravention of the Act if they fail to make full disclosure with respect to goods or services which prevents the consumer from making an informed decision.

A copy of the proposed amendments can be obtained from the Department of Consumer Affairs. Closing date for submissions is November 30, 2010.

Submissions should be sent to the attention of Karen Marshall at the Department of Consumer Affairs, Ingham & Wilkinson Building, 129 Front Street, Hamilton, HM12, Bermuda. She can be emailed at or faxed at 295-6892.

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