THE Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has introduced a toll-free line aimed at easing communication with consumers.
The toll-free line, which can be reached on all mobile phone networks, has been introduced in response to the public outcry for enhanced and cost-effective means of communicating with the commission.
CCPC acting director of consumer and education, Naomi Fulaza, described the introduction of the line as a milestone that would create a platform for complaints against unfair trading practices on the market.
Ms Fulaza urged consumers from both rural and urban areas to take advantage of the line to lodge their complaints.
"As a commission, we hope that the toll-free line number 5678 will ease communication between the commission and the consumers in both rural and urban areas of our country.
"We have been receiving complaints from consumers mostly in far-flung areas regarding difficulties in communicating with the commission," Ms Fulaza said.
She said consumers in remote areas could not afford to travel to the commission's offices in Lusaka and Kitwe, and neither could they afford to call the commission in case they wanted to lodge a complaint due to financial challenges.
Ms Fulaza said the commission was hopeful that with the toll-free line, consumers would be able to contact the commission in a more cost-effective and efficient way.
"The idea behind the introduction of this line is to open up to members of the general public to call in and report complaints on both anti-competitive and unfair trading practices such as trading in counterfeit products, display of disclaimers, infringing on consumers' rights, abuse of dominance, horizontal and vertical agreements, among other market vices," she said.
Ms Fulaza further called for concerted efforts from all stakeholders for the playing field on the market to be levelled.
"During its campaign tours in far-flung parts of the country, the commission observed that consumers found it difficulties in contacting the commission for any kind of assistance, citing the long distances to the commission," she said.
The 5678 toll-free line will, prior to its launch, be accessible within the official working hours from 08:00 hours to 17:00 hours from Monday to Friday.