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DACO urges Puerto Rico consumers to shop smart on sales tax holiday

Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO, in Spanish) Secretary Edan Rivera-Rodríguez made a call to Puerto Rico consumers who waited for this weekend’s tax-free holiday on hurricane-preparedness products to “plan their purchases well, so that they can make the most of the savings that this exemption can represent.”

Agency inspectors will be on the street to enforce consumer protection norms during the sales, he said.

“Any situation that could lend itself to an increase in the demand for certain products automatically activates the DACO’s oversight duty,” said Rivera-Rodríguez, adding that, “this time, the focus of the visits will be based fundamental principles of consumer rights protection, which is to prevent misleading practices and ads.”

In May, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi has signed into law House Bill 478, opening a tax-free holiday so that consumers can buy articles and equipment to prepare for the hurricane season that runs through Nov. 30.

The following list of items will be tax-exempt today through Sunday:

  • Containers, tanks and cisterns for fuel and water;
  • Storm shutters;
  • Fittings — anchoring and screws;
  • Wood beams and untreated panels;
  • Ropes and moorings;
  • Construction zinc panels;
  • Nonperishable food;
  • Water;
  • Cleaning and sanitizing items; and,
  • Parts and products for repair and maintenance of generators and emergency solar equipment.

Meanwhile, the following hurricane-preparedness equipment is also included:

  • Portable generators whose selling price does not exceed $3,000;
  • Individual batteries or packs (AAA battery, AA battery, C cell, D cell, 6-volt or 9-volt);
  • Battery-operated or alternative energy lamps, flashlights, candles, and matches;
  • Emergency solar kits;
  • Tools such as drills, disk saws, hammers and other equipment related to securing the property;
  • Gas stoves and burners;
  • Gas in cylinders and tanks;
  • Emergency or rescue ladders;
  • Hurricane shutters;
  • Axes and machetes;
  • on-electronic can openers;
  • Portable coolers to store ice and food;
  • Fire extinguishers;
  • Battery-operated smoke or carbon monoxide detectors;
  • First aid kits;
  • Plastic containers or containers for fuel dispatch;
  • Ground anchoring systems or ground tie kit;
  • Reusable or artificial freezing items;
  • Mobile phone batteries and mobile phone chargers;
  • Portable radios;
  • Battery or alternative energy operated fans;
  • Portable stoves;
  • Propane gas; and
  • Tarps or other flexible waterproof material of a similar nature.

Rivera-Rodríguez said consumers should be particularly aware of the retailer’s return policy, and in the case of products such as storm shutters and water cisterns that will eventually require hiring installation or maintenance services, he stressed the importance that “the consumer makes sure that the person is registered as a contractor at DACO, as this ensures the existence of a guarantee that responds in the event of a defective or incomplete service.”

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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