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 a consumer’s right. Consumer rights laws in Nigeria are there for customers to file complaints and seek redress whenever their rights are violated.
Right to reject goods before completing the transaction:
A consumer has the right to reject goods displayed in open stock before the completion of the transaction.
Right to goods corresponding with samples and descriptions:
Where a consumer cannot examine goods offered by a supplier and the consumer relies on the samples and description offered by the Supplier. Upon delivery of the goods, they must correspond in all material aspects with the sample and description offered by the supplier. This is especially relevant to e-commerce and internet marketing, goods displayed by vendors must correspond with the goods supplied to the consumer.
Right to reject goods:
A consumer has the right to reject goods in the following instances:-
- Where the goods are intended to satisfy a particular purpose which is communicated to the supplier and upon delivery, the goods are not fit for that purpose.
- Where the consumer did not have the opportunity to examine the goods before purchase, for example, e-commerce and upon delivery, the goods do not match the sample and/or description or do not meet the quality and type envisaged in the sales agreement.
- and, where the goods are defective and unsafe.
When a consumer returns goods in any of these circumstances the consumer is entitled to a full refund of money paid for the goods.
Misleading, false, fraudulent and deceptive information:
No producer, importer, distributor, retailer or service provider shall in pursuance of trade or to market goods or services to a consumer make any representation that is misleading, erroneous, fraudulent and deceptive. Such a person shall also not use physical force, coercion, undue influence, pressure, harassment etc. to get a consumer to enter into a transaction for goods and services with him or take undue advantage of consumers with physical, mental or educational disabilities. Any undertaking that violates these rights of a consumer will be liable to the consumer for damages and restitution.
Right against unfair prices and terms:
An undertaking shall not supply, offer to supply, market, or negotiate goods and services to consumers in a manner and/or for unfair, unreasonable, and unjust prices. The undertaking shall also not require waiving the consumer’s rights or the consumer assuming the liability of the undertaking or assuming any obligation in a manner that is unfair or unjust.
Notices detrimental to consumers:
Any notice which seeks to limit in any way the risk or liabilities of a supplier of goods or services, constitute an assumption of risk by the consumer, impose an obligation on the consumer to indemnify the supplier or is an acknowledgement of fact by the consumer must be brought to the attention of the consumer in a conspicuous manner and form that a reasonable man won’t miss such a notice and the consumer must be given adequate opportunity to receive and comprehend the notice.
Right to quality service:
A consumer who enters into any transaction for the performance of services has a right to timely performance, quality performance and completion of the service. The consumer also has a right to the use, delivery or installation of goods that are free from defects. If there will be any delay in the performance of the service then the consumer must be given timely notice. Otherwise, the consumer will be entitled to have the defects remedied. Including a refund of a reasonable portion of the price paid for the service based on the extent of the failure.
Right to safe and quality goods:
Every consumer has the right to receive goods suitable for the purpose they are generally intended. If the consumer has a specific purpose and has informed the supplier, they must be suitable for that purpose. The goods must be of good quality, and be free from defects. The goods must also be useable and durable for a reasonable period of time. Furthermore, it must comply with any applicable standards set by industry sector regulators. There is an implied warranty that all goods and services must comply with these requirements.
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.