I refer to your editorial in the Stabroek Business edition of May 16, 2014 captioned, `Our consumer protection regime sucks’. It made mention of a store on Regent Street with the following line: “a pair of dry-rotted shoes acquired at a bogus sale fell apart within minutes of the purchase.” I point readers to a published letter of mine in the June 13, 2013 edition of Kaieteur News titled, `Wealthy Business must not do these heartless things.’
This concerned a sale of a pair of shoes at the Discount Store on Regent Street by a friend of mine, Monty Green, a security guard at Roshan Khan Security. I hereby reproduce a section of that letter.
“I met Monty who explained a dilemma to me. He went to the huge shoe outlet, the Discount Store at Regent and Wellington Streets and bought a pair of boots. He said he did not receive a receipt because the attendant said special sales do not carry receipts. His problem is that he bought the boots for someone who will have to reimburse him. But he had no proof of the amount he paid.
I took the item out of the plastic bag. You are not going to believe what I saw. The boots were of different sizes. We went to the Discount Store. There is a permanent special sales section with the sign, “Goods are not returnable.” There are about ten boxes of absolutely useless footwear. I examined the items myself. These are things to be thrown away. Even if you give them away they serve no purpose. They are just goods damaged beyond repair. It was unbelievable that a wealthy firm like the Discount Store was selling these things.
The son of the owner, Rizwan Khan was in charge. He agreed to reimburse Monty. I told him that was not the issue. The point was why the Discount Store was putting this rubbish for sale.”
Since my June 13 letter, the Discount Store has persisted with the sale of these goods that are essentially useless. If you go into the store, there are about 16 huge cartons filled with useless stuff and a large sign that says “SALE.” This is no sale. The stuff should be discarded. African-rights activist Tacuma Ogunseye told me years ago he made a purchase from the “Sales Box” and the pair of shoes disintegrated on the first occasion of wear.
A month ago, a gentleman came to me in the movie store and explained to me what happened with his “sale” item at the same Discount Store. The heel fell off at the first wear. Let us say that the Consumer Protection Department of the relevant Ministry received no complaint. There was no action after I wrote my letter. Will there be action now that the Stabroek Business editorial has called for intervention by the relevant ministries.
Using any economic index, Monty Green falls into the category of a poor man. Do you know how breaking it will be for someone on minimum wage of thirty five thousand to buy a pair of shoes for a thousand dollars to attend a function and while on the road the heel falls off? I call on Mr. Rizwan Khan, owner of the Discount Store to stop selling these things and I demand that the consumer protection service of the Government of Guyana act immediately. In the meantime some of us who care about the poor of this country need to resurrect the Guyana Consumers Association. Leonard Craig did indicate to me that he is willing to participate in any effort in that direction.
Editor’s note: A copy of this letter is being sent to the Discount Store for any comment it may wish to make.