Attorney Merx to form Consumer Foundation

PHILIPSBURG–Attorney at law Cor Merx is in the process of forming a Consumer Foundation in an effort to help iron out disputes between consumers and businesses that are related to, amongst other things, purchases made.

The Consumer Foundation will include Merx as President, Edline Pierre Louis as Secretary and Ron Verhaar as Treasurer. Fellow attorney Kim Huitsman will also be assisting in the Foundation. A notary is currently handling the paperwork to establish the Foundation Merx said at a press conference at his office on Front Street on Thursday.

The numerous complaints that he has been receiving from consumers during his public consultation days prompted Merx to initiate steps to form the Foundation. Merx said most of the complaints he receives are related to purchases made in St. Maarten. Many persons who visit him complain about the challenges they encounter when they attempt to return faulty items purchased at businesses.

He said it is particularly saddening when single mothers who purchase items that are costly, encounter issues when they attempt to return the items when they turn out to be defective. In some cases, consumers are blamed for the defect of the product and in other cases consumers are told that the items have to be shipped off-island to the manufacturer to be fixed and the consumer loses out of use of the item that they purchased. Merx said this is not right. He said businesses in St. Maarten should be responsible for the items that they sell.

Merx has assisted many persons by trying to intervene and send letters to businesses. In an effort to help more persons with small claims, he came up with the idea of forming the Foundation.

Merx said both consumers and businesses can sign up to become members of the Foundation. The intention is for businesses that are part of the Foundation to agree to adhere to fair business practices. The Foundation will recommend consumers to patronise businesses that are in the Foundation based on their agreement to be fair. Those that refuse to join will not receive a recommendation.

The intention is also for the Foundation to sustain itself based on the contribution of its membership. Therefore members will be asked to pay a small fee of about US $10 per year. Merx will offer his services pro bono as a service to the community. Merx also hopes to get students involved in the Foundation since students are also consumers.

While the formation of the Foundation is in process, consumers can already start signing up to join the Foundation by contacting the prospective Secretary Pierre Louis at tel. 542-2300.

Source: The Daily Herald