Consumer Protection Bill on cards

Source: Consumer Protection Bill on cards | The Herald July 7, 2016

Melody Mashaire Business Reporter
The Consumer Protection Bill, which will result in the establishment of a Consumer Court and a Consumer Protection Commission, is expected to be introduced in parliament before the end of the year.

Countrywide consultations on the Bill were carried out since last year resulting in the drafting of the legislation.

The Consumer Protection Commission to be created once the Bill has been passed will co-ordinate and network consumer activities; promote fair business practices and protect consumers from unreasonable, unjust otherwise improper trade practices, deceptive, misleading, unfair and fraudulent conduct.

It will improve consumer awareness and information and encourage responsible and informed consumer choice and behaviour; to promote consumer confidence, empowerment and the development of culture of consumer responsibility through individual and group education, vigilant advocacy and activism; to provide for a consistent, accessible and efficient system of resolution of disputes arising from consumer transaction.

The Consumer Court shall be a special court for the purpose of enforcing rights and serve as a court of record. Addressing a customer service symposium yesterday, Consumer Council of Zimbabwe executive director Ms Rosemary Siyachitema said the consumer protection law will be discussed in Parliament in the next couple of months.

“This Bill is going to set the parameters to fit in all those things to do with customer service such as, quality, and the service we get. Now it is more outlined in a law so that it gives direction on the various issues of consumer protection,” said Ms Siyachitema.

She said the Bill will look at protecting consumers who use various products such as products from the Information Communication Technology among others.

“We have sat with the AG’s office so that the Bill is not delayed at the AG’s office that is where it is now. Our expectation is that sometime soon, this month or next month, we will receive the final document that goes to Parliament.

“Consumer protection transcends every service that you get such as protection in the telecoms, IT, health, pricing, language on products and quality of service.

“It is also looking at putting in place a structure to deal with consumer complains because there hasn’t been any place where consumers can go. For consumers to be protected they also have to know what their rights are so it will talk about consumer education,” she said.

Speaking at the same event Standard Association of Zimbabwe director-general, Dr Eve Gadzikwa said regulated consumer friendly standards will enhance Zimbabwe’s competitiveness while protecting consumer rights.

“The Consumer Protection law will affect how businesses conduct themselves across their value chain. Business will be compelled to improve quality of goods or services and enhance customer experience as part of its values and product development and evolution,” she said.