The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has said that electricity has again topped its 2021 consumer related complaints chart just like in 2020 stating that its joint committee tackling violation of consumer rights in the money lending industry will shut down illegal businesses at the commencement of its enforcement.
Chief executive officer of the Commission, Mr Babatunde Irukera, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that banking related complaints were second on the chart. Irukera explained that aviation and telecommunication related complaints followed the chart. He said that the commission received and completed the processes of no fewer than 32,000 consumer related complaints in 2021, adding that 80 per cent of complaints were resolved.
“ For the sectors that received the highest complaints, we have electricity, banking then aviation is now competing with telecommunications on the third place. The biggest problem with the airlines is not even the technical issues but their lack of transparency, responsiveness and been able to refund passengers when it becomes absolutely clear that flying at that time becomes pointless for them. We are continuing that battle and then we are resolving many complaints,’’ he said. On the challenges faced by the commission, Irukera said that some businesses were yet to come to terms that the regulatory space had changed and that they had a responsibility.
“Others include consumers who sometimes are very complacent and do not want to enforce their rights or those that criticise the commission even when their rights are being enforced. The nature of our challenges are modifying themselves as we go. COVID has presented an incredible challenge. It has changed our lives, changed how we work yet it has not changed how we consume. People are not going out much to buy things, even food, people now order them to come to them. What that does is that it raises the level of complaints because people are not able to access. So, there are more complaints but infrastructure for handling the complaints are still the same. The new normal that we find ourselves is one of the key challenges,’’ he said.
Meanwhile the joint committee tackling violation of consumer rights in the money lending industry will shut down illegal businesses at the commencement of its enforcement. The joint committee is made up of representatives from FCCPC, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Other agencies involved in the committee are the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Irukera said that committee would also be writing interim regulations which money lending companies must comply with.
“The joint committee is meeting and agreeing on how to proceed but I can say that two of the entities of the joint committee will be going on the field and doing enforcement work now, very shortly. They will be closing down businesses and engaging App stores to shut down certain applications that are infringing and abusive. We are also going to be writing interim regulations and some basic information for all these money lenders to provide information so that people will know who they are. Some of them are just Apps that we do not even know who the promoters are. So we are going to provide certain frameworks for them to comply with before doing business, ‘’ he explained. On the increasing number of consumer complaints about services by insurance companies, Irukera said that the commission was progressing in their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM). According to him, we anticipate that as we conclude that MoU early next year, we will have more industry wide interventions in that space. “We get a lot more complaints about the insured who have paid their premium and are not been settled and so, we are engaging NAICOM on that.’’