Still wide gap in claiming consumer rights

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Lack of knowledge on consumer rights and responsibilities by customers is said to be one of the driving forces that consumers encounter resulting in silent suffering in the financial service sector, the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) has observed.

Malonda: Consumers need to know their rights Malonda: Consumers need to know their rights

According to CFTC’s Executive Director Charlotte Wezi Malonda, said customers in the financial sector do not query or demand their rights in instances where they do not understand some of the charges the financial institutes pose on them.

Malonda added that many customers of banks and various money lending institutions seem to be ignorant in following various bank or institution charges thereby not having enough knowledge on how these transactions are performed and suffer in silence.

“We know of customers that have money deducted from their accounts but don’t follow up because they regard this as business as usual. There is a lot of non-disclosure of information, unfair charges and sometimes abusive conduct by many of these financial service providers,” said Malonda.

She therefore said a solution in hand should include awareness and sensitization campaigns for the customers and accountability on the financial service provider’s part.

“While we are celebrating consumer rights, we should acknowledge that there is a gap and that is why we want to make sure that we hold sensitization campaigns for consumers nationwide. A platform for engaging consumers has already bee created and we will intensify the outreach and education on financial service providers. We believe that knowledge is power,” added Malonda.

The consumers will have to file their complaints to the service provider and the CTFC, and if they are not satisfied with the response, they can file their complaint to Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) which has joined hands with CFTC to come up with appropriate solutions,” Malonda said.

World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated on 15th March every year as a means of raising awareness about consumer rights and needs.

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