The Guardian of 2007-11-28 08:42:03
By Felix Andrew
The level of consumers` rights awareness in Tanzania is awfully low, according to the latest survey.
The Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS) Executive Director Bernard Kihiyo said over the weekend that the study has exposed that consumers` perception and attitudes with respect to businesses` accountability and responsiveness to consumers` needs and interests in Tanzania is almost near to the ground.
The survey was conducted in five regions on Mainland Tanzania namely Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Coast and Mwanza Regions in February this year.
About 3,000 respondents were asked to mention five unfair business practices they experienced for the past twelve months.
The survey revealed over 80 per cent of respondents lamented about prevalence of poor public transportation system which is characterised by congestion and delays, uncomfortable travelling conditions, poor vehicle conditions, poor customer services and increased road accidents.
Moreover, the survey reveals electricity consumers are getting raw deal from power and water utilities through inflated bills and unreliable service provision.
In particular, respondents expressed fears that habitual provision of dirty water was responsible for frequents outbreaks of water-borne diseases like typhoid and cholera.
At the same time, producers and suppliers are accused by the survey as being adamant in addressing genuine complaints related to say inflated bills, poor products and professional misconduct.
On the other hand, about 85 per cent said the market is rife with cheaters on weights and measurements in provision stores, butchery and hardware shops.
The other most regular form of unethical business conduct uncovered by the survey was deceitful declaration that certain brands are new, while in fact are second-hand or at times fakes. Most electronic gadgets fall under this category.
The study has also discovered that warranties declared on most products are not valid, while poor and unhygienic food handling was also rampant.
Because of blatant violation of consumer rights, TCAS intends to organize a seminar with Members of Parliament in the near future to lobby for serious legal considerations over consumer rights issues, he explained.
TCAS view that consumers as innocent economic agents that need protection, and when damage was inflicted on them, they deserve compensation as well.
· SOURCE: Guardian