Consumer Protection Bill a relief to customers

by Zivanai Dhewa

Consumers have hailed Government for gazetting the Consumer Protection Act number 5 of 2019, and for passing it into law by close of 2019, The Harare Post can report.

“This Act has brought a huge relief, after a long spell of wondering if Government is aware that as consumers we are at the mercy of retailers and service providers, who have continued to provide us with expired goods and below standard service.  This law now protects us from companies that profiteered from treating us unfairly,” said Mr Banda while buying lunch at one of the fast food retail shops.

Sub-Part B of the Act which provides for the right to health and safety states, a supplier is prohibited from selling or marketing any goods or services to consumers unless such goods or services conform to the mandatory safety and quality standards prescribed in accordance with the law.

One employee from the National Competitive Commission who spoke to The Harare Post on condition anonymity said, “The Consumer Protection Law helps to outline consumer rights that they are then able to enforce in the event of a breach.

“The rationale for the law enables the state to regulate the behaviour of businesses ensuring that it is not to the detriment of consumers, for example business that offer promotions of items they know they do not have in stock, businesses that price their goods and services very high because they are monopolies and know the consumer has no alternative source among other things,” she said.

“As consumers we feel very safe now knowing business is accountable for its goods and services,” said one Omega Mukusha.

“Business behaviour needs to be monitored and having the law to regulate such monitoring creates certainty of relief to the offended,” Mukusha added.

The Act further states its mandate which is “to serve to protect the consumer of goods and services by ensuring a fair, efficient, sustainable and transparent market place for consumers and business; to provide for the establishment of the consumer Protection Commission and its functions; to provide for the regulation of Consumer Advocacy  Organisations; to provide for alternative dispute resolution; to repeal the Consumer Contracts Act (Chapter 8:03); and to provide for matters connected with the incidental hereto.