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Ministry of Commerce trade and Industry

News Article

Seeking Redress after Cancellation of Events Due to Covid-19

2020-05-11

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) helps consumers exercise their right to redress as provided for under Section 49 (7) (a) of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) No.24 of 2010.

In this light, the Commission takes cognizance of the fact that there are numerous events that have resulted in cancellation during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thus, the Commission wishes to remind the business community that consumers have the right to refund in circumstances when the cancellation is not due to no fault of their own.

The Commission is also alive to the fact that the pandemic and the measures put in place by the Government of the Republic of Zambia to address it, are not in the control of the Enterprises. Should an event be covered by terms and conditions that deal with instances of Force Majeure, those terms and conditions prevail.

The Commission would like to state that during the Covid-19 period, all business enterprises have an obligation to refund consumers when the service paid for has not been given.

However, we also advise consumers to give enterprises reasonable indulgent time within which to settle their refunds as these times are unprecedented and the effect is felt by all.

Enterprises are encouraged to be innovative in providing consumers alternatives to the services paid for, e.g. vouchers (with sufficient time within which a consumer can make a claim), postponement to mutually acceptable dates, etc. However, the consumer has the discretion to opt for a refund should the alternative not suffice.

In dealing with the question of whether a full refund should be available, several factors are to be considered, including when the event was scheduled to take place. These factors would determine the amount of costs incurred by the enterprise.

It must be emphasized that even in such situations, equity demands that the weaker party in any agreement should not be left out without adequate redress. Prudence should therefore be employed, accordingly.

Rainford Mutabi

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