4th July, 2012
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has tasked operators of supermarkets to establish consumer redress desks in their shops to handle complaints from customers.
Its Director-General, Mrs. Ify Umenyi, gave the directive at a stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja on Tuesday. She said that such a mechanism would enable the resolution of disputes within the ambit of the law.
“Most shops do not have a good consumer redress mechanism, evidenced by cases the council handles.
“A good redress mechanism would easily avail the consumer of redress where there are issues with the product bought,” he stated.
Umenyi said the council had noticed that some supermarkets stocked goods which had no form of labeling to provide the consumer with adequate information before purchase.
She told operators that products must be appropriately labeled as required by the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
She advised consumers to demand for receipts after purchase as the receipts described the products bought, price sold, date/time of purchase and name and details of the retailer.
Umenyi urged consumers to avail themselves of warranties on products bought in times of complaints.
“The law provides for manufacturer’s warranty and in some cases, retailers’ warranty.
“In the case of the former, the exercise of consumers’ rights under these warranties must necessarily be done through the retailer.
According to the director-general, it is no excuse for the retailers to claim that they only sell the goods and do not manufacture them.
“They must be the middle men in all situations, it must be noted that where consumers have an assurance of support when a product is faulty, there is likely to be a patronage of the same shop.”
Also, Mr. Yakubu Umar, the Desk Officer of SON’s Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP), said the supermarkets must obtain SONCAP certificates before importing anything.
Responding, Mr. Salman Mohammed, the Manager of Electronics, “Sahad Stores”, said there was need for consumers who return goods on warranty grounds not to abuse the privilege.
He said that some customers returned goods they had mismanaged and request an automatic change.
Mohammed said there was need for the supermarkets to be given time to return such goods to the manufacturers.
In his contribution, Mr. Mattew Agbi, a representative of “Park n Shop,” complained that some customers change their minds after purchasing a product and demand for change without any defects on the products.
Agbi called for proper education of consumers on warranty rights to enable them understand and abide by the terms.