Nigerians have since grown to accept substandard products and services, bearing the brunt of sharp practices of manufacturers who seem to get away with such acts without any remorse. Thus, any liability borne from such service is usually borne by the consumer.
However, according to the report given by the Director-General of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), there are indications that Nigerians can start restoring their belief in consumer rights and the possibility of being compensated for poor goods and services.
The CPC which was instituted for this very reason seems to have woken up from a slumber as it formally presented the first-ever annual report to about 70 participants drawn from various media organisations, UNIDO and NGOs with particular focus on consumer issues nationwide.
Highlights of the report show that service providers and manufacturers across the country and in different sectors are now increasingly being held liable for any substandard goods and/or service. For example, in the banking sector, First City Monument Bank was instructed to refund N1.542 billion to the Bauchi State Government while more than N25 million was recovered by over 60 subscribers of VIP Express Tourism Limited in the tourism sector.
Even promotions, offers and adverts were put under scrutiny as a balance of N1.85 million owed a consumer by MTN after participating in one of its promotions was refunded after interventions by the Council. “The council is mandated to ensure that advertisements are not deceptive, recognising the fact that some businesses to embellish their products and services with promises that may not be fulfilled,’’ the D.G. said.
With such encouraging reports, it seems Nigerians are beginning to believe that they have rights once more as consumers and that these rights can lead to compensation for unsatisfactory services. If the Council improves on its campaign to ensure that defaulting companies pay the price for poor services, then even manufacturers would treat the consumer with more respect and deliver improved services. Probably, one day, Nigeria will be a country where the slogan ‘The customer is always right’ will actually hold true.