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Safeguarding the Namibian public interest

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Consumer rights in Namibia
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Safeguarding the Namibian public interest

  1. 1. Safeguarding the Public Interest & Cross-border effects of Consumer Protection in Namibia Milton Shaanika-Louw Volunteer Director: Namibia Consumer Protection Group
  2. 2. Why consumer activism? • “What if these services were not available to me?” • “What are about my fellow consumers who struggle to get the same access to allow them to sleep peacefully at night?”
  3. 3. What is the NCPG • non-profit organisation that campaigns for customer rights. It focuses on illegal and unethical behavior by companies. • Founded in 2009 on social media • Over 600 members – less than 5% actively involved in issues • Presently also in newspaper as “Consumer Court” ▫ Frozen Chickens – immediate reaction ▫ Price labelling - supermarkets
  4. 4. NCPG Focus • Namibian Consumer Charter • Consumer Awareness – Consumer Day • Partnership for Information provision • Sectors problems experienced with: ▫ Banks ▫ Debt Counseling ▫ Legal Insurance ▫ Life Insurance ▫ Real Estate ▫ Food Industry
  5. 5. Market Behaviour & the need for Regulation • Consumer versus Business interest ▫ All are consumer – end users of products ▫ Consumer = happy, treated with dignity & respect through fair & honest dealings • Market fails in fiduciary duties = Government steps in to protect • By drafting and enforcing regulation to balance the scales to ensure fair and responsible trade
  6. 6. Consumer Protection Environment • Various institutions exist however consumers still have need for protection • Consumer protection violations are prevalent with ▫ misleading and bait advertising, ▫ non-honouring of guarantees, ▫ abuse of information, ▫ non-disclosure, ▫ unfair contract terms, ▫ deliberate none use of plain and simple language and ▫ poor product quality
  7. 7. Consumer Charter • The aim of the Charter is to develop corporate practice in light of consumer concerns. ▫ The right to basic goods and services which guarantee survival. ▫ The right to be protected against the marketing of goods or the provision of services that are hazardous to health and life. ▫ The right to be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising or labeling. ▫ The right to choose products and services at competitive prices with an assurance of satisfactory quality.
  8. 8. Consumer Charter (continued) • The right to express consumer interests in the making and execution of government policy. • The right to be compensated for misrepresentation, shoddy goods or unsatisfactory services. • The right to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be an informed consumer. • The right to live and work in an environment which permits a life of dignity and well-being.
  9. 9. Consumer protection is good for business • “Made in Namibia” meets consumer rights is a plus for exporters • Regulation means products are “meeting standards” • Trust in regulator means trust in business
  10. 10. Consumer protection on externally sourced goods • SADC cooperation between consumer regulators • Recourse to cross border rights enforcement • UN Resolutions on Consumers ▫ is Namibia doing its part? ▫ Do we know our obligations?
  11. 11. Future needs • Independent Consumer Protection Commission • Consumer Ombudsmen • Electronic Transactions Act • Consumer Education at schools • Small Claims Court • Debtors Counselling • Period of “change of mind”

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