THE Fair Competition Commission (FCC) has reviewed 529 consumer contracts for the past five years.
Speaking at the ongoing 44th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF), in Dar es Salaam, FCC Director General, Mr John Mduma said the review was conducted to establish unfair terms in consumer contracts in which after the review, only 225 contracts were registered.
He said the review was carried out after the Commission tightened Standard Form Consumer Contract Regulations of 2014 prepared by various service providers in the country.
"The regulations came into effect in January 2016, through these regulations, and the commission has eliminated tougher and more restrictive provisions against consumers in contracts prepared by firms and producers especially in the financial sector," he explained. According to him, the contracts reviewed include their number in the brackets banking and financial sector (485), insurance (28), renewable energy (2), communication (4), transport (6), agricultural equipment (3) and one contract for the Hotel.
FCC is a public institution established by virtue of section 62(1) of the Fair Competition Act, No.8 of 2003 (FCA), with the aim of promoting and protecting effective competition in trade and commerce and protecting consumers from unfair and misleading market conduct.
The ultimate goal is to increase efficiency in the production, distribution and supply of goods and services. Establishment of FCC is a significant step in Tanzania effort to establish a market economy.
At the fair, they participated in raising public awareness on issues prohibited by competition law, how to identify counterfeit goods, how to file a consumer complaint, the impact of counterfeit goods and how competition law contributes to industrial growth.
Mr Mduma further said the commission also conducted an investigation into the microfinance that involved 193 companies in five zones with the aim of identifying fraudulent activities in those services.
"In order to improve and enhance the effectiveness of consumer protection, FCC continues to develop regulations that will enable it to fulfill its responsibilities more effectively," he said
The Director said in order to increase awareness of consumer protection of goods and services, the commission has been actively involved in the preparation of the National Consumer Protection Policy organized by the Ministry of Industry and Trade that intends to set consumer regulations and guidelines.
He said the Commission is currently preparing a report after conducting a nationwide survey on public awareness of the consumer's rights and responsibilities and identifying the realities of counterfeit goods.
The survey was conducted in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and upon completion of the research report; the commission will release it to the public.
Mr Mduma said in protecting competition, the commission conducted various investigations to identify violations of competition law and to make policy recommendations to improve competition in several sectors in the country.
FCC Director said in the five-year period from 2015-2020 the studies conducted were in the areas of road construction, fertilizer industry, sanitary pad and metal industry.
In controlling counterfeit goods he said, during the period they checked a total of 29,529 containers and seized 987 suspected ones with counterfeit goods. The number of seized containers is equal to 3.3 per cent of all checked containers in the period.
He said the containers were seized after it was discovered that the products had violated the trademark law of 1963 as amended.