Be polite: Ask to speak to the manager if you have a problem. *MCT photo
Be polite: Ask to speak to the manager if you have a problem. *MCT photo

Everyone should know their basic rights as a consumer and how the laws protect them. Armed with this information most of us can avoid unfair business practices. 

There is a wealth of information on consumer rights and responsibilities on our web-site, and I strongly suggest that everyone takes the time to familiarize themselves with this information, including businesses – every customer facing member of staff should be taught about consumer rights.

Understanding your consumer rights and responsibilities will not guarantee that you will not encounter problems but it should help you to resolve them. One of the things that is important to understand is how to complain effectively.

When filing a complaint against a business, whether the problem is a defective product or receiving poor workmanship, the first step is to contact the business or organization who sold the product or service right away.

So before contacting Consumer Affairs do the following:

1. Ask to speak to the manager.  Be polite, but firm.

2. State what your problem is and tell them how you would like it resolved.

3. If you write a letter, and I strongly suggest you do, address it to the manager or owner of the business.

4. State in the letter the details of the complaint, what you want and when you expect a reply.

5. Hand deliver it or send it by registered mail.

A good business welcomes the opportunity to resolve any problems that their customers have and will gladly work out a fair resolution so that they can keep you as a customer rather than loose you to their competition. 

At Consumer Affairs, we offer advice to consumers, businesses and other organizations. Before contacting us we recommend that you first visit our web-site, and read the relevant advice. If you are unable to find the information you require on our web-site please e-mail us at

Honey Adams Bell is the education officer for Consumer Affairs.