The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) has asked Malawians to safeguard their rights during the festivities by exercising caution with any festive season offers or promotions as they might be misleading or deceptive.
CFTC says some traders take advantage of the celebratory mood to put up adverts that directly or indirectly lead consumers to misunderstand or confuse the price of offered goods or services thereby breaching the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act.
Responding to an emailed questionnaire, CFTC executive director Wezi Malonda said traders have an obligation to prevent any form of consumer harm and that those found in breach shall be guilty of fraud.
“According to the Consumer Protect ion Act , mis leading advertising includes any type of business information or communication which can directly or indirectly, expressly or by omission, lead a consumer to mistake, misunderstand or confuse the price of the offered goods or services.
“To determine whether an advert is misleading or deceptive, the Commission considers if the advert contains a false statement of fact; conceals or leave out important facts; promises to do something but without any intention of carrying it out; or creates a false impression even if everything stated in it maybe literally true,” she said.
She said it remains mandatory for advertisers to provide consumers with true information on the goods being sold and that where consumers feel that their rights have been violated, they have a right to redress.
“This includes the right to full, timely, adequate and prompt compensation for damages suffered by a consumer which are attributed to a supplier or trader and we would like to remind traders of their obligations which include taking necessary and appropriate measures to prevent any form of consumer harm.
“It is important for traders to ensure that their goods and supply comply with minimum consumer safety standards. In particular food supplies must have correct ingredients, measures or weights and proper labels,” she said.