ZCC requests powers to fine businesses contravening competition, trading Act

ZAMBIA Competition Commission (ZCC) has stated that it has no powers to impose fines or ask traders to remove the ‘no return, no refund’ notices from their business premises.

Reacting to Consumer Unit Trust Society (CUTS) Zambia coordinator Angela Mulenga who urged the Commission to impose stiffer penalties on traders found wanting, ZCC public relations officer Vaida Bunda yesterday stated that it was not wrong for such notices to be placed in business premises unless they led to misrepresentation of a product quality, quantity or price function.

She stated that in a case where a trader with such notice had been found wanting, the Commission intervened to have the consumer refunded or given a replacement.

“If the trader fails to comply with ZCC, the case is then taken to the small claims court since currently, ZCC has no administrative powers to ask the traders to remove such notices from their business premises nor does it have powers to impose fines on traders found wanting,” Bunda said. “In the draft bill currently under review and to be tabled before Cabinet and Parliament next year, the Commission has requested for administrative powers to fine businesses contravening the competition and fair trading Act.”

She explained that a ‘no return, no refund’ notice could only raise genuine concern if it was misleading consumers into thinking that even when a product was defective, they could not in any circumstance return it to the trader and claim for a refund or replacement.

“A trader in most cases puts up such notices to discourage consumers from returning the product after finding a similar one at a much cheaper price in a different shop. This then shows that a consumer should shop around before making a purchasing decision,î stated Bunda.

On Monday, Mulenga urged the ZCC and other relevant authorities mandated to safeguard the plight of consumers to mete out stiff punishment on any business house flouting trading practices and violating consumer rights through the ‘no return, no refund’ notices.

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