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FG reopens the sealed Sahad Stores in Abuja

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By Abiodun Okunloye

FCCPC gives approval to resume operations after deceptive pricing allegations.

Following the temporary shutting down of the popular Sahad Stores in Abuja, as earlier reported by AskNigeria, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has now given its approval for the supermarket to resume operations. The closure was due to concerns raised by the commission regarding the store’s pricing practices. Despite displaying lower prices on products, the stores were found to be charging customers higher prices at the checkout counter, contrary to the price tags.

The FCCPC reported that customers were being forced to purchase items at inflated prices due to the stores’ deceptive pricing practices. Acting Executive Vice Chairman Adamu Abdullahi stated in a release on Saturday that these stores, accused of misleading pricing and lack of transparency, have since been allowed to resume operations. The statement explained that FCCPC operatives visited Sahad Stores on February 16, 2024, where they discovered that the deceptive practice was still ongoing. Cashiers were found to be charging prices arbitrarily, putting customers at risk of unfair pricing.

Sahad Stores agreed to uphold transparent pricing practices.

Providing context for the store being sealed, the commission said they had looked into Sahad Stores on January 8, 2024, due to complaints about deceptive pricing strategies. During the investigation, it was discovered that Sahad Stores had been engaging in such practices by advertising lower prices on shelves but charging higher prices at the checkout counter, violating Section 115 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA) 2018. To address this issue, all branches of Sahad Stores in Abuja were thoroughly investigated to gain a comprehensive understanding of the situation and implement necessary corrective actions throughout the entire chain.

A summons was promptly issued by the commission to certain employees of Sahad Stores, requesting their presence on February 12, 2024, to address corrective actions. It was mentioned that the employees did not show up without giving a reason, which raised worries about potential breaches of Section 33(3) of the FCCPA. In accordance with Section 18(f), the commission made the decision to temporarily close the premises. After Sahad Stores agreed to uphold transparent pricing practices, the FCCPC decided to reopen the store on February 17, 2024, at around 7 p.m.

Consumers’ rights will be protected while preventing deceitful tactics.

Businesses are encouraged by the FCCPC to show clear pricing information to help consumers make informed choices when buying things, especially in tough economic times. The FCCPC also promises to fight against deceptive or unfair practices harming consumer rights. The FCCPA emphasised its responsibility to safeguard the rights of consumers and prevent deceitful business tactics. It highlighted that section 115 specifies the consequences for breaches, such as monetary fines for companies and jail time for directors. The FCCPA urged all companies to follow fair and transparent pricing policies to guarantee consumer safety and promote a competitive market setting.

Efforts can be made by the commission to deter businesses from overcharging customers by rigorously enforcing pricing regulations and penalties for violations. Regular audits and investigations can help ensure that businesses are not engaging in anti-competitive practices. By closely monitoring pricing practices and taking swift action against offenders, the commission can create a more level ground for consumers and protect them from being overcharged. Also, the commission can engage in public awareness campaigns to educate consumers about their rights and ways to protect themselves from unfair business practices.

Related Article: ACAN call FG to action on rising food prices

Lastly, consumers can safeguard themselves from overcharging by being proactive and informed. By comparing prices, seeking written price quotes, understanding transaction terms, and reporting any instances of overcharging, consumers can protect themselves from unfair practices. It is essential for consumers to be aware of their rights and to seek assistance from consumer protection agencies if they believe they have been subjected to unjustified overcharging. Additionally, consumers should keep a record of all transactions and receipts in case they need to dispute any charges.

Related Link

FCCPC: Website

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