Bread for sale. PHOTO | NMG Kenyans’ complaints against consumer products increased 28 per cent, raising concerns about safety and deceptive marketing of wheat and maize flour, bread, juices and edible oil.
The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) data shows a total of 178 consumer complaints were handled in the financial year ended June last year as consumers became more aware of their rights.
The Consumer Protection Act outlines rights to access quality goods, safety and protection from false advertising and labelling, empowering the CAK to order companies to refund consumers and fine those in breach.
“During the period under review, the Authority received, investigated and finalised consumer complaints into different markets, specifically wheat and maize flour, bread, juices and edible oil,” the CAK said in the Annual Report 2019/20.
“These increases are as a result of the Authority’s continued consumer rights campaign initiatives, including the creation of awareness to the consumers at the County level and increased media campaigns,” the report said.
The antitrust body has increased surveillance and slapped companies with fines as a deterrent, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, to reduce instances of hoarding, collusion and increasing prices arbitrarily.
The CAK says cases handled in the financial, insurance, transportation and storage, accommodation and food services sectors increased by 21 percent, seven percent and one percent to 37, 12 and two respectively.
The number of complaints in the manufacturing sector increased by eight percent from the previous year to 39 complaints.
The Authority also identified the incidence of abuse of buyer power in the insurance and retail sectors, hurting suppliers including delays in payment, termination of a commercial relationship without notice, transfer of costs or commercial risks meant to be borne by the buyer or demanding preferential terms.