Consumer speaks out against dishonest business practice

An aggrieved consumer is seeking redress for what she has described as a “dishonest business practice” by a local supermarket.

A copy of a receipt showing the non-refundable deposit deducted from recently purchased Breweries bottled drinks by the cashier at Andall’s supermarket on Melville Street

The young lady accused Andall & Associates of “collecting deposits from consumers under false pretense” on bottled drinks that have been manufactured by the Grenada Breweries Ltd.

In explaining her grievance with THE NEW TODAY last week Wednesday, she recalled an incident while purchased a quantity of drinks at the Parade, St. Paul’s outlet of the supermarket last December.

“I distinctly remember that the price was more than I budgeted for and I was like but that’s not the price on the shelf and was told that there is a deposit (to be paid) on the bottles. So I had to go back to my car to get extra funds to cover the cost,” she said.

“That was the first time I noticed that they were collecting deposits on Breweries bottles. Before I would just buy it and not pay attention…”, she added.

According to the consumer, she had made sufficient purchases of the bottled drink and when enough had accumulated she decided to return it to the supermarket to cash in on the refund.

“‘Lo and behold I was told by the manager that it’s not their policy to give refunds. And I was like, but you took my deposit.”?

In business terms, a deposit can be described as one of two things – a transaction involving a transfer of funds to another party for safekeeping or a portion of funds that is used as security or collateral for the delivery of a good.

The disturbed consumer said she was of the belief that the supermarket was collecting the deposit from persons making purchases with the expectation that when the consumer returns the bottles, they would get back the money.

But unfortunately, she said, that was not the case at Andall’s when she attempted to return the empty bottles last week.

“You could see for yourself. If you purchase a breweries drink, they would charge you (the deposit) for the bottle,” the young lady charged as she showed THE NEW TODAY the slip from the supermarket.

The aggrieved consumer took her grievance to her facebook page with the intention of bringing about greater awareness of the issue.

A February 27 post obtained by THE NEW TODAY from the facebook social media site reads as follows:

“I am flabbergasted. I’ve been purchasing local beers and Shandy in bottles from Andall & Associates Supermarket in Parade, St. George and dutifully paid a deposit on each bottle since December 2016. So you can imagine my amazement when I attempted to return some of the bottles yesterday to collect my deposit only to be told by the Manager, Ms. Thomas that they do not refund deposits – it’s store policy!!!

“I visited with the Manager again today (last week Monday) to follow up on the status of my refund and was called ‘Sweetie’ and told that the matter was referred to her general manager and that she don’t just want to tell me an outright NO about refunding my money!!!

“Hello….this is totally dishonest. I feel cheated out of my hard earned money. They took my money under false pretense. I feel like they held a gun to my head. Facebook friends and family please put me in touch with the Consumer Protection Agency. Consumers should not be left up to the mercy of these dishonest business practices.”

The annoyed consumer expressed her desire for the supermarket to “discontinue this dishonest practice”.

“To me, you can’t collect funds under false pretense from a consumer….a deposit is voided to something. It’s not yours (the supermarket in question) that they (the supermarket) should have it (the deposit) separated from regular intake because you are intending to return that money to the consumer but, apparently that is not their company policy and that’s what I was told,” she declared.

THE NEW TODAY purchased two drinks from the Breweries at Andall’s supermarket on Melville Street and a 25 cents deposit was deducted from each of them.

When questioned about the purpose of the deduction, the cashier directed the reporter to her supervisor, who explained that “the deduction is payment for the bottles, which the supermarket purchased from the manufacturer.

“You have to pay for the bottles…we don’t take them back……it is yours now…you can choose to sell it or throw it away,” the Supervisor remarked.

THE NEW TODAY contacted the Grenada Organisation for Consumer Affairs (GOCA) and was told that the matter is currently being investigated.

The office confirmed that the issue was reported and indicated that there has been an increase in consumer complaints in recent times.

In keeping with the international and regional drive towards ensuring consumer protection, the Cabinet of Grenada recently, approved the appointment of a committee that has been mandated to develop legislation that would protect consumer rights.

This newspaper understands that the committee is expected to hold its first meeting sometime this month.

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