PM tables Consumer Protection Bill 2023

PM tables Consumer Protection Bill 2023
Prime Minister Philip Davis in the House of Assembly (Photo: BIS)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Philip Davis yesterday tabled the Consumer Protection Bill 2023 in Parliament, noting that the legislation includes stringent provisions against misleading and deceptive conduct, harassment, and coercion.

During a communication in Parliament, Prime Minister Davis noted that the Consumer Protection Bill 2023 is designed to enhance the rights of consumers across our country. 

“This Bill is for all Bahamians, from the young mother budgeting for her family’s groceries, to the retiree investing his hard-earned money in a new home appliance,” Davis claimed.

“Our individual households, our communities, and our economy depend on the integrity and fairness of trade. Over the years, the Consumer Protection Act, Chapter 337C, has served as a firm foundation in ensuring fairness in our markets. However, in an era of digital transactions, global markets, and rapidly evolving consumer needs and products, it’s time for us to strengthen our laws, to adapt and to better protect the interests of Bahamian consumers,” Davis said. 

The Bill aims to expand definitions, refine the functions of the Consumer Commission, and modernize the ways in which the Commission operates. 

“We are also enhancing the ways consumers can lodge complaints. Under the new bill, consumers can make complaints even while outside The Bahamas, and we are expanding the list of who can make a complaint on behalf of the complainant. These changes reflect our commitment to inclusivity and accessibility, ensuring that all Bahamians have a voice and can seek redress when necessary,” Davis said.

The proposed legislation also empowers the Consumer Commission to issue advisory notices in situations where harmful practices to consumers are identified. A significant change under the new Bill is the mandatory licensing and registration of providers. Davis noted that failure to comply will result in penalties, encouraging businesses to operate within the boundaries of law and promoting a culture of accountability. 

“The Bill includes stringent provisions against misleading and deceptive conduct, harassment, and coercion,” Davis continued. We want to create a marketplace where consumers can engage with confidence and without fear.

“A critical aspect of the Bill is the restriction of pyramid selling and the obligation for businesses to state the full costs of goods or services. These measures will help ensure that consumers are not exploited or deceived.

Additionally, the Bill expands on the powers of the Minister to implement regulations to protect consumers.