Consumer Protection Commission moves to restore market confidence

By Tapiwa Machemedze

Days of substandard products in the retail sector and shoddy service by various providers are coming to an as the Consumer Protection Act is being operationalised.

International best practice dictates that the customer is king, but locally consumers have to beg for quality service delivery.

However, all this is set to come to an end as the Consumer Protection Commission is setting up a commissariat after the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act in 2019.

“We now have a CEO in a place and a number of key staff are going to be recruited very soon.  The Act has been put in place to look after the consumers to bring fairness on the market, so, indeed, the days of shoddy service, availability of substandard products should be over because the commission is going to have inspectors going around the market seeing what is going on,” Consumer Protection Commissioner, Mrs Rose Mpofu said.

Consumers challenged the commission to address multi-tier pricing among other unfair market practices.

“There is a bank rate and then you go into shops but you see goods are pegged at prices prevailing on the black-market rate and this is very unfair so it should be addressed,” a consumer said.

“We have a cash price, electronic rate, Zim dollar rate and foreign currency rate and this is not good for the consumer who gets paid with the electronic rate, we should have one rate,” another noted.

Trade measure assessors in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce are already investigating the quality and quantity of goods and services on the market to ensure consumers are not short-changed.

Augustine Mupinyuri, a Trade Measure Assessor said, “We will be checking to see how branding is, what is the length, because we assess whether your volumes are enough, is it in standard from…”

The Consumer Protection Commission is currently undertaking consumer awareness campaigns and is set to form consumer advocacy bodies that will empower customers to exercise their rights.