The Gambia Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (GCCPC) World Consumer Rights Day Statement 

0
21
Mr. Amadou Ceesay, DG GCCPC

Combating Non-Disclosure of Information & Misrepresentation of Products to Consumers

Kotu East, 15th March 2024

World Consumer Rights Day is commemorated globally on the 15th of March every year. The First World Consumer Rights Day was commemorated in 1983, and since then, it has become a global occasion commemorated by consumers, businesses, and governments alike.

The day serves as a reminder that consumers have rights and that they should not be taken for granted. In commemorating the day, a theme is chosen every year by Consumer International (CI) to mark the day, and this year’s theme is ‘’Fair and Responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI)”.

However, because AI is not a pressing consumer issue in The Gambia, the Commission has decided to domesticate the theme to focus on the two main consumer protection issues: non-disclosure and misrepresentation of items by suppliers of goods to the consumers.

The Gambia Competition & Consumer Protection Commission has been receiving many complaints based on these two salient issues. Considering its rise in the country, today, instead of the International theme to commemorate the day, we wish to address these two pressing issues that consumers are faced with in The Gambia. The issue of non-disclosure and misrepresentation has been a serious issue affecting consumers in the country, and this has to be curbed in our market.

Non-disclosure of items to the consumers is the failure of the businesses to reveal information that is material to the transaction. Material information is information that is important to the decision-making process of the consumer or influences his or her decision to enter into a transaction.

It is significant to note that, the information does not have to be specifically requested by the consumer. If the information is material, it must be disclosed, as nondisclosure constitutes a violation of the Consumer Protection Act, 2014. Section 5(a) of the Act provides that, consumers are entitled to true, sufficient, and timely information on technology, goods, and services offered in the market as well as on prices, characteristics, quality, and risks that might be involved in the consumption thereof. Section 7(1) of the Act further imposes an obligation on businesses to bring all the terms and conditions of a contract to the attention of the consumer before or upon the execution of the contract.

To avoid a breach of the Consumer Protection Act, businesses should make sure that they make adequate disclosure of information on the goods to the consumer.

Adequate disclosure requires that all the relevant information about the contract is made known to the consumer so that he or she can make an informed decision.

On the other hand, a misrepresentation is a false or misleading statement of fact during negotiations by one party, which induces the other party to enter into a contract. The misled party may normally rescind and may sometimes be awarded damages as well (or instead of rescission).

It is vital to note that Misrepresentation constitutes a violation of the Consumer Protection Act 2014. For example, section 11(1)(d) of the Act prohibits the use of deceptive representations or designations of geographic origin in connection with goods. Section 11(1)(f) of the Act also outlaws a representation by businesses that goods are original or new if they are deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed, used, or second-hand.

Considering the rate at which these are going on in our market, the Commission urges businesses to make authentic and clear statements to consumers rather than false and misleading statements that will have the effect of inducing the consumer to enter into a contract, which he or she would not have entered into.

This year, the Commission wants to eradicate or substantially reduce the occurrence or existence of non-disclosure and misrepresentation in our market by sensitizing businesses to their obligations to consumers. We equally implore every consumer to refer such cases to the Consumer Protection Commission to take the appropriate remedial actions against the businesses. This way, we will be able to put up a substantial fight against businesses practicing this.

While we are committed to combating the Non-Disclosure of Information & Misrepresentation of Items to consumers, it will be difficult if the consumers do not report such issues to the commission. Thus, we called on consumers to be cautious of these practices and always report issues to our office in Kotu East for redress. Protecting the welfare and promoting the rights of the consumers are part of our mandate.
We encourage anyone who has any consumer rights issue to reach out to our office on 5000033.

Leave a Reply