The BVI is close to finalising the Consumer Protection Bill, 2019 (the CPB). The CPB is intended to promote and protect consumer interests in relation to the supply of goods and the provision of services. It also contains provisions designed to ensure the protection of the life, health and safety of consumers.
Under the CPB, the Virgin Islands Trade Commission (the Commission) will be the authority responsible for receiving, investigating and resolving all consumer complaints. The Commission will also monitor the operations of recognised consumer organisations and conduct education programmes for the benefit of consumers and suppliers.
The CPB sets out a suite of consumer rights and imposes a number of obligations on every supplier of goods and services. There are also extensive provisions which prohibit unfair trade practices such as false, misleading or deceptive representations, bait advertising and unconscionable conduct. The CPB specifically prohibits unfair contract terms in any consumer agreement and notably sets out the regulatory requirements that will apply to distance selling contracts.
The CPB also creates offences and corresponding fines for breaches of certain provisions. It is expected that there will be regulations to give effect to certain provisions of the CPB.