CCPC fines MATCUS Driving School for Unfair Trading Practices
2019-12-20The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) Board of Commissioners has fined MATCUS Driving School 1.5 percent of their annual turnover for unfair conduct exhibited against its customers.
CCPC Director Consumer Protection, Mr. Brian Lingela has disclosed that the driving school was fined following an investigation by the Commission which revealed repeated consumer complaints in which the school utilizes false and misleading advertisements which were meant to attract more customers to acquire driving services when the company had no capacity to supply the said services.
Mr. Lingela stated that the Board of Commissioners found that MATCUS Driving School advertised and collected money in form of payments for driving lessons from unsuspecting members of the public on the pretext that the driving lessons would be conducted on manual transmission vehicles when in fact not. The school has also been in the habit of providing automatic transmission vehicles to customers who had paid for manual transmission vehicles when conducting practical lessons.
In its investigations, the Commission found that MATCUS Driving School had exhibited consistent failure to provide driving lessons as per the agreed schedules and timetables with the clients. The investigations have also established that Instructors from MATCUS Driving School would agree to offer lessons on weekends but would be unavailable at
the agreed times and places and would sometimes not respond to the clients’ phone calls.
The Commission notes that this conduct has been consistent as observed from consumer complaints received against the said driving school in the period between 2013 and 2019. The Commission has also established that MATCUS Driving School presently does not own any vehicles, manual or automatic transmission and that since 2016, the company has been operating illegally and without a license from the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA).
The Commission has thus found MATCUS Driving School to have contravened Sections 46(1) as read together with Sections 45(a) and (b); Section 47(a)(i) and Section 49(5) of the Competition and Consumer Protection (CCPA) Act No. 24 of 2010 which prohibits unfair trading practices and relates to false or misleading representation.
In this light, the Commission wishes to warn all driving schools in the country to be compliant with the law by ensuring that they desist from engaging in such unfair trading practices as providing false or misleading information to consumers.
Consumers who intend to access driving lessons from any driving school are urged not to be in a hurry to pay money but to consider shopping around to check and verify the authenticity of their service provider if they are to attain value for their money.
CCPC and RTSA Collaborates in Raising Awareness in the Public Transport Sector
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), has collaborated with the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA), in its campaign which is aimed at sensitizing the bus operators against unfair trading practices in the public transport sector.
CCPC Executive Director, Mr. Chilufya Sampa has stated that the Commission has expressed concern over the influx of complaints relating to unfair trading practices against consumers by bus operators operating on the Inter-City routes.
Mr. Sampa said the Commission has noted that most bus operators are in the habit of using ghost passengers who masquerade as ordinary commuters with the aim to deceive and attract unsuspecting commuters to acquire their services.
CCPC notes that most bus operators have continued to exploit commuters through the issuing of receipts with disclaimers which limit their liability for any loss or damage of luggage belonging to the commuters despite the commuters having paid for the carriage of the luggage.
To this effect, CCPC in its ongoing campaign has joined efforts with RTSA, to sensitise the commuters on their rights as they transact with various bus operators and also to make bus operators aware of their responsibilities towards the commuters. The campaign also seeks to caution bus operators on the repercussion of them engaging in any conduct which misleads commuters.
Meanwhile Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) Chief executive Officer and Director, Mr. Gladwell Banda has bemoaned the growing trend passenger harassing passengers by call-boys.
Mr. Banda said it was against the Road Traffic Act No.11 of 2002 for a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) driver to attract the attention of a possible passenger, in a troublesome manner.
“Section 116 of the Road Traffic Act No. 11 0f 2002 states that no owner, driver or conductor acting on behalf of the owner or driver or conductor of a public service vehicle authorised to carry passengers shall make any loud noise or sound any instrument in order to attract the attention of the public or of a possible passenger, or by troublesome or frequent demands or by persistent following hold out the vehicle for hire to the public, or attempt to induce any person to become a passenger therein in such manner as to constitute a nuisance, or act in any way so as to cause annoyance or inconvenience to any person,” Mr. Banda stated.
Mr. Banda said the RTSA would work in collaboration with CCPC in restoring sanity in bus stations and guarantee passenger safety to the traveling public.
He said the partnership between the two institutions would be strengthened especially during the festive period when members of the public travel to various destinations.
Mr. Banda implored passengers and the traveling public to report any form or harassment, bad, careless and dangerous driving to the RTSA.
Therefore CCPC in collaboration with RTSA will be commencing airing of both radio and TV adverts country wide which highlight the unfair conducts engaged in by bus operators.
Through these adverts, CCPC and RTSA hope to enhance the awareness levels of commuters about their rights and responsibilities and to promote compliance by bus operators of the laws relating to unfair trading practices as provided for under the Competition Consumer Protection (CCPA) Act No.24 of 2010.
In this regard, the Commission wishes to take this opportunity to caution all bus operators who maybe engaging in such unfair trading practices to stop as such conduct is punishable under the CCPA Act.
Commuters are also advised to report all unfair trading practices to the nearest CCPC or RTSA offices located in all provincial centres across the country or call CCPC and RTSA toll free lines on 5678 and 983 respectively across all networks from 08:00 to 17:00hrs Monday to Friday.
CCPC urges consumers to take caution during the forthcoming Black Friday event
2019-11-28The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is urging the general public to take caution during the Black Friday event which falls on 29th November, 2019.
The Commission is aware that some firms are in a habit of hiking prices of their products during the Black Friday event by purporting discount bargains when in fact not.
It has also been noted that some traders have a tendency of limiting the number of items which are on offer with the aim to entice consumers to buy their product. CCPC is therefore urging consumers to consider conducting personal research on the products which they intend to purchase by tracking prices leading up to Black Friday so that they could be making reference to the older prices of a particular product or service and make informed purchase decisions. Consumers are further advised to shop around and compare prices before purchase and they should also be on the lookout for return policies to make sure that the store will not charge them a restocking fee for any item which they may wish to return.
In addition, consumers are also advised to be aware of the cheapest sets of products which are on offer as they may not be worth the price or about to expire. CCPC also urges all consumers who may engage in person to person transactions to remember requesting for receipts from their respective service providers which would be used as proof of payment for a particular service or product. Consumers are further urged to keep documentations such as receipts, warranty and guarantee safe as that is useful to the Commission for initiation of investigations especially in an event where a consumer is denied redress. Caution is also passed to all service providers to ensure that transactions that may expose consumers to unfair trading practices such as no-redress, false or misleading information, display of disclaimers, unfair contract terms and misrepresentation of actual state of affairs would be in contravention of the Competition and Consumer Protection (CCPC) Act No 24 of 2010.
CCPC cautions consumers against misleading information on some websites
2019-11-22The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has expressed concern over some websites using misleading information with the aim to attract more customers in order to attain high profit margins for the sale of products and services.
Recently, the Commission under the African Consumer Protection Dialogue (AD), a network that focuses on consumer protection issues around Africa, conducted an internet sweep. The sweep which is a review of websites with potential unfair trade practices focused on Disclosure of Terms and Conditions in e-commerce transactions and was done on 235 websites.
Following the Sweep, the Commission has noted with concern that most of the international online sales platforms were cited to possess information that was misleading and seemingly fraudulent, deceptive and unfair to consumers transacting online.
The Commission has noted that 81% of the websites were characterized with information relating to unclear privacy and restrictive return policies, misleading information on pricing and hidden terms and conditions.
Thus, the Commission has noted that these practices are a detriment and unfair to the consumers and they are also a likely violation of Sections 45, 47, 49(5) and 53 of the Competition Consumer Protection (CCPA) Act which clearly prohibits unfair trading practices and false or misleading representations.
CCPC Executive Director, Mr. Chilufya Sampa has disclosed that the results of the sweep indicated a high sense of worry to the Commission as most of the information displayed on websites were in fine print and had no provision for cancellation as well as privacy policies to consumers.
The Commission thus wishes to advice consumers to be careful when transacting using online platforms especially those which do not provide adequate information and a comprehensive redress mechanism.
Consumers are further cautioned to always be on the lookout for information that appears to be seemingly enticing such as flash sales and limited quantity products, unsubstantiated and discount claims as well as the display of prices which have hidden additional charges and fees.
The Commission further wishes to advice Consumers that it is their responsibility to consider taking precautionary measures by understanding fundamental terms and conditions associated with any transaction as failure to doing so would affect them in an event of a grievance.
The Commission also takes this opportunity to warn all firms’ who might have been using misleading information for attainment of sales or any other agenda to desist from engaging into such illegal practices punishable by the law.
Further, firms and the business community are encouraged to consider embracing the culture of full disclosure of terms and conditions to their respective customers as that would assist them gain confidence and trust from their clients.
CCPC has a mandate to promote competition and protect consumer welfare for the growth of the economy and benefit of the people of Zambia