The quality of smart products, manufacturer’s warranty and after-sales support are the top complaints of consumers in Nigeria as the world marks International Consumer Rights Day (WCRD).
The WCRD, marked annually on March 15, is meant to raise awareness on the rights of consumers of goods and services around the globe, and the theme for this year’s celebration is “Trusted Smart Products.”
Over the years, as a result of this knowledge imbalance, consumers had suffered in the hands of producers and suppliers of goods and services with whom they were engaged in trade relationships in terms of supplying sub-standard goods and services, fake and expired products.
Sola Salako, founder, Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria (CAFON), said most of the complaints from consumers had been around the quality, after-sales support and manufacturer’s warranty.
“Many times, a lot of products are mislabelled or deliberately passed off as smart and it is only after you buy them you will find out that they don’t function effectively or efficiently,” Salako said in a telephone interview.
“A lot of products that comes into Nigeria don’t have the manufacturer’s warranty. And by the time the consumers buy the products and a problem occurs with no warranty and the consumer wants to return it back, the retailer will not take it back to the manufacturer to get it fixed because he or she will not want to bear the cost. But if a warranty was involved then the retailer will get it fixed,” Salako said further.
To further protect the rights of consumers, Salako suggested that a lot of consumer awareness, better regulatory enforcement and educating the retail market should be enforced.
“Sometimes in trying to protect the consumer, the government, agencies and Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like ours need to work with the channels of trade and educate them on what to expect and demand for,” she said.
The advocate also said that the reason why retailers don’t give the consumer the kind of quality service that they expect is because they don’t have enough backing themselves from the manufactures.