The Guardian; Business and Foreign Sept.07.2007
By Felix Andrew;
COMMERCIAL fraud and cheating are said to be major challenges currently facing consumers, a consumer advocacy body has said, the Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS), has confirmed.
Speaking to this paper in an interview in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS) executive director Bernard Kihiyo said a research conducted by his organization in April, this year, in some regions of the country revealed that acts of commercial fraud and cheating were on the increase due to poor knowledge of consumers.
‘’We conducted a baseline survey in Arusha, Mwanza, Moshi, Coastal and Dar es Salaam regions to establish the scope of the problem’’ he said.
A total of 3000 consumers were interviewed whereby 80 per cent of the respondents mentioned commercial fraud and cheating as major challenge which they confronted
The respondents also did not understand where to lodge their application in case they come across such problem.
Kihiyo said more than 80 per cent of consumers in Tanzania suffered from lack of understanding of consumer rights and the ability to claim their rights, thus rendering them vulnerable to fraud and cheating.
The have resigned themselves to fate, they sit and watch silently as their rights are violated’’ he said
The director said this had come in the wake of economic and financial reforms that took place in the mid 80s. He said taking advantage of the policy changes, consumers’ ignorance and in the absence of a platform to advocate consumer rights; unscrupulous traders flooded the market with counterfeit, substandard products and services to enrich themselves.
‘’The concept of corporate social responsibility is lacking in Tanzania’’ he charged.
Kihiyo said, ‘’TCAS seeks to ensure that consumer, trade, business, private and public enterprises have an equal status in complying with the principle of fair business and hence acts in response to consumer rights, needs and interests’’.
According to him, the government and the donor community were supporting private sector excluding consumers.