CPC orders N2.5 billion refund to consumers, seizes N202m goods

Director General, CPC, Dupe Atoki

Director General, CPC, Dupe Atoki

The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) ordered a refund of N2.5 billion to consumers in 2016 as part of the resolution of complaints for unsatisfactory services and products.

However, many consumers are still unaware of how to seek redress in the cases of infringement on their rights, and even when they are, they are reluctant to pursue the matter further because of time constraint vis-a-vis the value attached to the product or service.

The Council’s feat was disclosed yesterday, in Lagos, during the presentation of the agency’s 2016 yearly report by the Director-General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, who noted that consumer abuse was virtually pervasive in all sectors.

Top among the companies that came under the Council’s hammer were MTN Nigeria, Multichoice Nigeria, VIP Express and others, which were either ordered to improve on their services or pay specified amounts to their customers.

Atoki disclosed that the N2.5 billion included foreign currencies of $31,948.87 and €1,406 recovered for aggrieved consumers, who complained to the Council.

This comes as the acting Chief Technical Adviser on the National Quality Infrastructure (NIQ) Project, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Dr. Shaukat Malik, said UNIDO and the European Union (EU), recognise the objective of the CPC to enhance consumer understanding and capacity to react effectively on quality issues.

Malik, who was represented by Partnership and Communication Expert, NIQ Nigeria Project, Ms. Efehi Ubebe, commended the Council for its leading role in enlarging its capacity to lift the quality of goods and services offered to Nigerians.

On the 2016 report, Atoki said financial services recorded the highest value of the total amount, while insurance and pensions had the least value.

Out of the 5,000 complaints received from various sectors, 4,000 were resolved, while electricity/power and chemical and allied products sectors had the highest and least number of complaints respectively.

Atoki disclosed that under enforcement, the total value of substandard products removed from Nigerian markets was over N242.3 million with food and beverages taking the lion share of over N200 million and tobacco with the least value of about N300, 000.

A further breakdown of the value of seized products showed that substandard products worth over N202 million were seized from malls, super and open markets, shops and warehouses, while the value of electrical and electronic products seized during the period was N40 million.

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Atoki attributed the positive strides recorded during the year to the adoption of sectoral intervention and other activities, saying “the sectoral intervention adopted in the strategic plan enabled such result and provided speed and spread to consumer redress.”
She noted that due to the huge consumer abuse in virtually all sectors of the economy, “the Council in developing its 2013-2017 strategic plans identified a tripod stand for a fast track delivery of its mandate via sectoral intervention, enhanced consumer awareness and collaborations with other sector regulators.”

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