“Consumer” means a natural person who buys goods and services for personal, family or household use with no intention of resale.
Section 4 of the Consumer Protection Act of Bhutan 2012 provides a consumer, among others, with the right to:
a. Protection of their lives, health and safety in the consumption of goods and services
b. True, sufficient, clear and timely consumer education including information on goods and services offered, as well as on prices, characteristics, quality and risk that may be encountered in the consumption of goods and services
c. Fair, non-discriminatory and equitable treatment by business which will include fair terms of contract and sale
d. Be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of products, technologies and services at competitive prices
e. Get redress against unfair trade practices and unscrupulous exploitation of consumers
As per Section 5 of the Consumer Protection Act of Bhutan 2012, the Consumer shall endeavor to promote:
a. Awareness concerning the availability, price and quality of private and public goods and services;
b. Solidarity with consumer groups, which, together, can acquire the necessary influence to ensure adequate public attention and support to consumer interests;
c. Social responsibility to guard against the erosion of cultural, social and economic traditions;
d. Responsibility to consider the impact of consumption patterns on the environment to maintain the ecological balance; and
e. Safe environment for consumption of goods and services by providing information on the supply of goods and services which are harmful and not safe
The Manufacturer, Supplier and Service provider shall not unfairly;
a. Charge different price for any goods or services to different person
b. Supply different quality of goods and services to any person
c. Exclude any person from accessing any goods or services offered
d. Deny a service or supply of goods based on Gender, Sexual orientation, Nationality, Ethnicity, Religious preferences or any other peculiarity
e. Provide true, clear and accurate information about the goods and services
f. Refrain from producing and circulating unsafe goods in the market
g. In the event goods circulated are of risk to the consumer, recall the goods circulated in the markets
h. Affix Price Tag
A consumer complaint can be an allegation or expression of dissatisfaction by the consumer against the business entities as a result of the unfair trade practices of the supplier of goods and services.
Any aggrieved consumer, agency or organization of the government on behalf of or for the benefit of general consumers, one or more consumers on behalf of or for the benefit of general consumers can lodge complaints.
A consumer complaint can be lodged to the following:
a. Respective Gups,
b. Regional Office for Economic Affairs (Thimphu, Phuntsholing, Gelephu, Samdrup Jongkhar, Trongsa and Mongar) or
c. Office of Consumer Protection, Ministry of Economic Affairs.
A complaint can be lodged in writing/call/email/online/walk-in etc as deemed appropriate. Dial toll free number 1214 or lodge complaint at www.ocp.gov.bt
The complainant is encouraged to provide following details for the purpose of effective consumer redressal:
a. Name, description and address of the complainant and business entity.
b. Facts relating to the complaint including time and place of the incident.
c. Evidences supporting the complaints (receipt, pictorial evidences, audio, video etc)
d. Remedies and redress being sought.
Note: In case of a complaint lodge is for the benefit of general consumers, the complainant may not necessarily provide the name, description and address of the complainant. This is to ensure confidentiality of the complainant.
Receipts shall be a proof of transaction of any type and shall be issued by all business entities for purchase or transactions value exceeding Nu. 100.
Receipts may be either printed and signed or handwritten and signed or retainable record of transactions in case of electronic transactions.
Any business entity or person who refuses to issue a receipt on demand by the consumers or for a transaction value exceeding Nu. 100, unless waived by the consumers, shall be liable for a fine equivalent to 10% of the value of goods or services subject to a maximum of six month’s national minimum daily wage.
It is a trade practice adopted by the business entities to promote sale or supply of goods and services in the market through unfair practices or deceptive methods.
As per section 78 and 79 of the Consumer Protection Act of Bhutan, the following administrative penalties are imposed:
a. Pay a fine equivalent to the value of the goods or services; or
b. Rectify the false and misleading representation within 14 days
c. Cancellation of business license incase of repeated offence or refusing to pay the penalty.