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Online marketing: CPC seeks legal powers to fight consumer rights’ abuse

Abuja: The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) is seeking legal powers to tackle consumer right abuses arising from online marketing, a statement said in Abuja on Monday.

The proposal is contained in the CPC Act Amendment Bill currently before the National Assembly, according to the statement issued by Mr Abiodun Obimuyiwa, the  Deputy Director of Public Relations of CPC.

It said the existing legislation was silent on consumer right abuses on the internet.

The statement states when the proposed amendment becomes law, such a provision will also prevent internet fraud and identity theft, “which have become endemic’’.

The CPC Director-General, Mrs Dupe Atoki, highlighted the issue and other proposals at a recent public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Commerce on the CPC Act (1992) Amendment Bill, the statement said.

It said Atoki had told the committee that her presentation was a harmonised version of the bill presented by two members of the House of Representatives and the council’s currently before the Senate.

“For the first time in Nigeria certain specific rights of consumers are defined for codification.

“They include consumer’s right to disclosure and information; right to choice; right to fair and responsible marketing and the right to fair and honest dealing.

“Others are right to fair, just and reasonable terms and conditions and the right to fair value, good quality and safety,’’ Atoki said.

She said clear definition of these rights was important to consumer awareness and the enforcement of consumer rights.

The director-general stressed that under the proposed amendment, consumers had  the right to return unsuitable or defective products they bought and collect a refund.

She said the condition would prevail notwithstanding exemption clauses like ‘goods once tested and taken away cannot be returned’.

Atoki also said that under the amendment, an elaborate and well articulated redress system dedicated, specifically to consumer issues was set out.

She said that apart from an elaborate redress system, the proposed amendment also provides for the establishment of certain institutions for the protection of consumer rights and resolution of their claims.

She named the proposed institutions as negotiation, mediation and conciliation tribunals and mobile and small claims courts.

Atoki said the proposed bill would also add value to the industry, improve standards and encourage healthy competition and the achievement of a fair and competitive market. (NAN)

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