Tue | Dec 12, 2017

Parents, caregivers prefer 'name-brand' Items- CAC

Published:Monday | July 10, 2017 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin

The Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) has opted to focus its attention on just books in its back-to-school survey this year, after attempts last year to provide reasonable prices on other items such as shoes and uniforms were dismissed by consumers.

Dolsie Allen, head of the commission, told The Gleaner that there is a widespread preference among parents and caregivers, to purchase 'name-brand' items for their children and, as such, their recommendations gained little or no traction.

A LITTLE CHALLENGING

"Last year, we looked at other items that you need to go back to school, like uniforms, shoes, PE (physical education) gears, and it was a little challenging," Allen said.

"What we did last year was to look at the lowest price in terms of what it would cost a parent to send a child to a primary school as opposed to a secondary school and we used the very basic item, but the comment we got from persons who looked at it was that, nobody is buying those things, because we went with the cheapest," Allen explained.

She added: "I don't think we are going there this year again, because I don't think it was as readily accepted. As we know everybody wants brand names. So this year, the focus will be on just books."

... Survey results to be ready early August

Findings from its annual back-to-school survey will be made public by the second week of August, the Consumer Affairs Commission says, providing an avenue through which consumers can make informed decisions.

"We have collaborated with the Ministry of Education, as we did last year. We got the book list from them, in addition to the list that we would have got from the schools, to look at the most popular books. We are actually in preparation mode as we speak; we will be out in the field at the end of July," said Dolsie Allen, CEO of the commission.

Allen, however, bemoaned the fact that there needs to be improvement in the way information is disseminated to the public about prices.

"To be honest with you, our concern over the years has been in terms of the availability of the price as you go in. Sometimes the price that is in the book, when you go to the cashier, is a different price or sometimes the information is not there any at all. So it takes a little time to get the information, because most times you go shopping, stores are crowded - among other things - so that's the gap I have found over the years."