Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and its functions are discussed in this article. We hope you find it informative, educative, and helpful.
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) commonly known as Consumer Protection Council (CPC) is the highest agency that protects consumers’ interest in Nigeria.
The FCCPC came into existence as a result of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (Cap. 25, Laws of the Federation 2004).
The most important reason why it was established is to protect the interest of consumers by ensuring both preventive and a remedy to any issues that may occur both in time of purchase and after.
The commission has been in establishment since 1992, although, due to some circumstances, it didn’t operate in its full capacity until later in 1999.
The FCCPC’s operations cut across all the segments of the Nigerian economy and have been evolving as the year goes by.
At inception in 1999, the commission had just one office but presently, the commission has established its presence through its offices in the six geopolitical zones of the country as well as additional strategic intervention offices that are emerging in good locations to make the coverage of the country a little easier.
As of the time of the publication of this article, there are nine offices when the headquarters is included and the other eight offices which span across the geopolitical zones are coordinated and controlled from the headquarters in Abuja.
Since the inception of the commission, there have been up to four Director Generals and the current and incumbent director is in the person of General Babatunde Irukera.
In the bid to fulfill her constitutional mandate, the commission deploys quite a number of regulatory tools to help look into and modify the behavior of service providers as well as that of manufacturers. Some of the key functions of the commission include surveillance and enforcement, complaint resolutions, consumer education, and research and strategy. Quickly, we will be looking at each of these functions extensively.
Functions of Consumer Protection Council (CPC)
Here are the Functions of Consumer Protection Council (CPC):
1. Complaints Resolution
Through the use of several methods, it is the primary function of the commission to resolve any complaints that may be filed with it.
On a normal basis, the dissatisfaction and grievances of the customers are usually filed in the commission as ‘Complaints’.
There are several methods in which these complaints get to the hearing of the commission either through social media platforms, through mails, in direct contact with the dissatisfied customer, or any other means.
The ways that these complaints are handled differs depending on some number of circumstances; it can be through negotiations, direct engagement with the affected person, mediation, conciliation, administrative hearing, or collaborating with other regulators.
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However, investigations and hearings are often necessary when the intervention of the market becomes compelling or in any other worst-case scenario.
2. Surveillance and Enforcement
In order to protect consumers, a vital tool called market surveillance is needed and impartial enforcement in cases where violations occur.
The component of their work is both on a random and targets basis. Most of the interventions that are targeted are sometimes based upon the intelligence that has been gathered by or provided to the commission and this includes anonymous tips.
The interventions that are done randomly are a quality assurance structure. Some of the things that they do in surveillance and enforcement are on a preventive scale and sometimes lead to the publishing of Advisories or Guidelines about the products in the market as well as restrictions on the usage or consumption of such.
3. Quality Assurance and Development
Placed in high value above all other things in the commission is the satisfaction and safety of the Nigerian Consumer.
The commission I bent on committing to nationwide quality assessment of services and products through their immense input into the required standards both nationally and internationally, sampling analysis, investigation, process auditing, developing and issuing guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) so as to ensure that products, services, and processes are delivered at a quality that is good, safe and reaches the exact expectation of the whole at the same time, exchanging value for money.
4. Consumer Education
One basic thing in the protection of consumers is to educate the consumer. In order to make this possible, the commission takes up the responsibility to periodically and routinely educate the consumers adequately in order to inform them of their basic rights, available enforcement, and machinery as well as how to use the processes.
One other important part of educating the consumers is to provide adequate information about the key market development such as Warnings, recalls, advisories, and similar interventions. The commission also takes it upon itself to carry out a lot of special as well as general awareness campaigns.
5. Research and Strategy
The commission also takes actions in favor of domestic and global research services which includes changing or causing the advancement of trends in the market and the behavior of consumers.
The essence of doing the research is to:
1. Provide complete statistics for organizational planning purposes on the concept of consumerism.
2. Come up with good strategies for interventions.
3. Re-brand the systems that are already in place for an increased level of effectiveness and efficiency.
The research and strategy perform a very key role in how the commission reaches and fulfills its mandate and allocate the resources that are already limited.