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Tuesday, 20 February 2024 13:11

[OPINION] It Is Illegal For Internet Vendors To Ask Interested Buyers To “DM For Price”. - Stan Alieke

Some days ago, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), sealed up some supermarkets in Abuja. One of their reasons for doing that is that the stores did not attach the prices of the items displayed on the shelves which is in breach of the law. 

Section 115 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection (FCCP) Act has mandated vendors (both offline and online vendors) to attach the price of any item they display or advertise for sale. 

Here are the full provisions of Section 115 of the FCCP Act; 

“115(1) An undertaking shall not display any goods or services for sale without adequately displaying to the consumer a price of those goods or services.

(2) For the purposes of this subsection, a price is adequately displayed to a consumer if, in relation to any, particular goods or services, a written indication of the price, expressed in the currency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is annexed or affixed to, written, printed, stamped or located upon, or otherwise applied to the goods or services or to any band, tickle covering the label, package, reel, shell or other thing used in connection with the goods or services, or on which the goods or services are mounted for display or exposed for sale, or published in relation to the goods or services in a catalogue, brochure, newspaper, a circular or similar publication available to the consumer

or to the public generally.

(3) An undertaking shall not require a consumer to pay a price for any goods or services higher than the displayed price for those goods or services, or if more than one price is concurrently displayed is higher than the lower or lowest of the prices so displayed. 

By implication of this s. 115 of the FCCP Act, posting an item for sale without affixing the price is an offence and asking interested buyers to dm you for the price as online vendors usually do is an offence as well. You are expected to charge in Niara so far your patrons or customers are residents in Nigeria or your business is conducted within the territorial jurisdiction of Nigeria. If your price tag is in any other currency other than the Niara, you have run a breach of subsection 2 of this section 115. 

The intention of this law and the reason for the establishment of the consumer protection agency is for the protection of the final consumers; to ensure that consumers are not exploited by greedy sellers who can Jack up their prices at any time and charge exorbitant prices. The agency is to ensure that dealers and sellers charge consumers a market fair price for the items, any price charged for an item which is above what is considered to be the fair price of the item is extortion and it is illegal. 

Sellers are therefore expected to charge customers the prices that were attached to the item, once a seller charges a customer a price different from the displayed price, it becomes an offense. If there is a change in price, it is expected of the seller to quickly update the price change to avoid running a breach of the law.

 

Stan Alieke is an Abuja based legal practitioner. 

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