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60 business operators arrested for consumer protection breaches

Story by Kenias Chivuzhe

A consumer protection campaign blitz in Manicaland has netted more than 60 business operators for various offences including selling substandard and expired goods.

The weeklong blitz conducted by the Consumer Protection Commission is part of the responsive measures implemented to protect consumers against unfair practices by business owners.

Residents supported the interventions to arrest businesspersons for violating their rights.

“We need more network boosters to increase mobile connectivity. We are happy with the move to arrest business owners selling expired products,” said a consumer.

“Some shops were selling expired goods while some had rules that refused us the right to return substandard products. We want those breaching the law to be arrested,” said another consumer.

Another consumer added, “Some shops were not respecting our rights. Some would refuse the Zimbabwean dollar with inflated prices if we use local currency.”

The Consumer Protection Commission (CPC) has raised concern over the continued disregarding of consumer rights by the business adding that those found guilty will face the full wrath of the law.

“We have covered Makoni, Nyanga, Mutasa, and Mutare and have done more than 60 prosecutions. If they are minor offences, they pay fines and if they are big offences like selling expired products, the issue will be taken to court. It is a criminal offence to sell expired products and that’s the reason why we are educating the consumers. We have inspectors who are moving around the shops checking on compliance with the law. It is also now illegal to have disclaimers in shops like no returns and no refunds or no exchange. A consumer has a right to return products if the product is substandard. It’s now a requirement of the law for businesses to display prices. Consumers have the right to choose, the right to information, and the right to health and safety. They have the right to a fair contractual agreement, the right to be heard and the right to be educated. These are the basic consumer protection rights as enshrined in the Consumer Protection Act,” said CPC research and public affairs manager, Kudakwashe Mudereri.

Residents also quizzed the Postal Regulatory Authority on connectivity challenges, with the authority saying engagements with network services providers are going to improve mobile connectivity coverage.

The Consumer Protection Commission says it will leave no stone unturned as it protects the rights of consumers.

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