Watchdog flags firms for violating antitrust laws

Pressure selling is the act of incessant bugging from sales persons to purchase a product or service. [iStockphoto]

Pressure selling was one of the unethical practices flagged by the competition watchdog among e-commerce merchants in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic as purchases went online.

Pressure selling is the act of incessant bugging from sales persons to purchase a product or service.

The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) in its financial year 2020/21 report says it investigated 26 online companies and found eight whose terms and conditions may have violated provisions of Section 56 of the Act and Rule 32 of the Competition (General) Rules, 2019.

The investigations involved companies that deal in baby products, transport tech, tours and travels, furniture shops, clothes stores, pharmaceuticals and the general online marketplaces.

CAK combed through the companies’ websites, focusing on disclosure of full information on the terms and conditions, specifically refund policy, return policy, pressure selling, fine prints disclosure of fees and charges and cancellations.

“There was a need to enhance protection of consumers in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to more consumers shopping online,” says CAK. During the period in review, the report says, e-commerce registered a 50 per cent increase compared to the previous period. 

“This jump was as a result of more consumers, making purchases through platforms in response to the restricted movements imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” notes the authority. 

The companies investigated were Patabay, OLX(Jiji), Jumia, Kilimall, Pigiame, Masoko, Epepea, JazaCart Online, Cheki, Baby Mama, Millan Baby Shop, Technix, Omall, Avechi, Chandarana Food Plus, Baby Mama, Mother & Baby Shop and Smart Baby Kenya. 

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