By Nation Reporter
THE Consumer Competition and Protection Commission (CCPC) to probe Kitwe-based Mama Africa supermarket for charging its clients an extra 3 percent when swiping ATM cards during shopping.
Commission public relations officer Hanford Chaba said in an interview that the supermarket was contravening section 51 of the CCPC Act which allowed people to pay the amount of money displayed on a product.
And Bankers Association of Zambia (BAZ) chief executive officer Leonard Mwanza said it was illegal for retailers to charge shoppers an extra fee for swiping ATM cards at their premises.
Mr Mwanza said in an interview that the charge for using a point of sale should be met by a retailer who in this case was Mama Africa supermarket. “When a bank gives a point of sale machine to a supermarket, it is the supermarket which pays the bank the fee. You, as customers, merely transact using a point of sale. There is no charge to customers for using a point of sale,” he said.
Mr Mwanza emphasised that unless otherwise, it was illegal for Mama Africa to charge its customers an extra 3 per cent to the customers’ bill.
“There is a fee that a retailer pays the bank and the owner of the point of sale machine, but in my understanding, that amount should not be passed on to the clients. If that is done, then that’s not how it should be. This can discourage people from using the point of sale,” he said.
FNB Bank in response to a press query said swiping using FNB card on FNB and non-FNB point of sales machines was free.
“Kindly be advised that swiping is free when using FNB card on FNB and non FNB Point of Sales Machines. What Mama Africa Supermarket is doing is wrong by charging extra 3 per cent on purchases.
“The supermarket wants to recover commission charged by the Bank when using a point of sale machine,” said the FNB.
Mr Chaba explained that Mama Africa was practicing unfair practice which was illegal.
“That is unfair trading practice which is very illegal and an offence. It contravenes section 51 of the CCPC Act which stipulates that, “… any personal enterprise shall not charge a consumer more than the price displayed on the product…”
“The aspect of not disclosing information to consumers for charging extra money becomes a total unfair practice, so you will find that we will take this as a case and tip of an iceberg,” he said. He said the supermarket would be charged a maximum of 10 per cent of their annual turnover once found wanting at the end of the investigations.
“We shall engage our Kitwe officers to follow up on the allegations. If established that the company engaged in such conduct, they have to be punished and the law says we can punish them a maximum of 10 per cent of their annual turnover,” he said.
Last week, a Mr Shiraz of Mama Africa refused to use an FNB card for a client after she objected to pay an extra 3 percent in addition to the bill for the groceries she had bought.