THERE has been an increase in the number of consumer complaints from 827 in 2014 to 1,791 in 2015, representing an increase of 53.82 p cent, according to Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).
CCPC director consumer protection Brian Lingela noted that in the same period the Commission successfully recovered K1, 492,889.09 million in product refunds and replacements as compared to K704, 336.31 thousand in 2014.
The increase was as a result of massive awareness programmes by the commission on consumer rights and obligations according to the CCPC Act.
“The Commission has recorded an increase in the number of consumer cases resolved and this can be attributed to the fact that consumers are now appreciating their consumer rights and obligations and enhanced sensitisation on consumer related issues by the commission,” he said.
Mr Lingela said Zambia as a predominant import country continued to experience an influx of substandard products from other countries which affected local consumers.
He said the commission observed that a number of complaints had continued to come through from different sectors of the economy among them finance, insurance, courier services and wholesale and retail trading.
He said the wholesale and retail trading sector was outstanding in terms of complaints due to defective products especially electrical products.
“The complaints are mainly on poor service such as unsolicited insurance cover, misrepresentation in loan agreements and supply of defective goods and failure to supply a service within a reasonable time especially in the courier services for the goods that were bought via online shopping,” Mr Lingela said.
However, Mr Lingela was quick to mention that the commission was aware of excessive pricing by selected business houses.
He noted that five (5) major cases of excessive pricing were currently under investigations by the Commission and were all from different sectors of the economy with focus on the dominating firms.
“I can mention here that excessive pricing cases take long to conclude and no determination has been proved yet, we are focusing on dominant firms as they have high chances to engage in excessive pricing for substantial effect on the relevant markets,” he said.