A consumer is any person who purchases or offers to purchase goods, products and commodities for consumption. This includes a person to whom services are rendered. The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (“FCCP Act” which was enacted recently has copious provisions on the right of a consumer.
Rights of a Consumer
1. Right to be given information in plain and understandable language:
- A consumer is entitled to be given information in plain and understandable language where such is required to be given by an undertaking (“this includes a seller, supplier, distributor, importer and a manufacturer”). The test of whether the information is in plain and understandable language is the reasonable man’s test of the standard of persons to whom the information is disseminated.
2. Right of disclosure of prices of goods and services:
- The prices of all goods and services must be displayed clearly so a consumer can take notice of it. An undertaking must also not require a consumer to pay a price higher than that displayed for the good or service.
3. Right to adequate trade description and to have products labelled:
- A trade description is any description, statement or indication as to the number, quantity, and quality i.e. of goods. An undertaking is mandated to ensure that trade descriptions are applied to goods either directly, nearby or by any commercial communication and that they are labelled appropriately for the benefit of a consumer. Furthermore, an undertaking shall not supply a trade description that is misleading or likely to mislead a consumer or which is false.
4. Right to disclosure of second-hand or reconditioned good:
- Any person who offers to sell goods that are second hand or have been reconditioned, rebuilt or remade must clearly notify the consumer of the nature of the goods.
5. Right to be given adequate information of every transaction:
- A consumer must be provided with a written record of every transaction by the undertaking. This record should contain the business details of the undertaking, the full details of the transaction, tax payable etc.
6. Right not be given a condition before making a purchase:
- A consumer must not be given a condition to fulfil first before entering into any transaction with the undertaking or a third party for the supply of goods and services.
7. Right to cancel an advance reservation, booking or order:
- The consumer reserves the right to cancel reservations, bookings or orders for goods and services. The supplier or service provider may require the consumer to pay a fee upon cancellation. But, such a fee must be fair and not excessive, considering the transaction.
Enforcements of Consumer Rights
A consumer whose rights have been violated by any person can either refer the matter to the undertaking for redress or file a complaint in the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (“the Commission“). The Consumer also has the option of seeking redress in a court of competent jurisdiction. The Commission has the power to investigate complaints and issuing appropriate orders. The Commission can register its orders in the Court as consent orders of the Court
To be continued…
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