Lilongwe, Malawi

+265 (0)111 772 466

Consumer Welfare & Advocacy

The Consumer Welfare and Advocacy Division is mandated to enforce part 5 of the COMESA Competition Regulations (“the Regulations), to protect consumers in the COMESA Region against unfair trade practices by market actors. The Division undertakes the following functions:

  1. Monitoring, identifying, receiving complaints and undertaking investigations on consumer infringements regarding:
    (a) Misleading conducts in the market in accordance with article 27 of the Regulations which prohibits giving of false or misleading information to consumers in the supply of goods and services, which lead or could lead to consumers making choices which they would not otherwise make when purchasing goods or services in the market.
    (b) Unconscionable conducts in the market in accordance with articles 28/29 of the Regulations which prohibits suppliers, in the supply or acquisition of goods and service, from engaging in conduct that is grossly unreasonable or unfair, takes advantage of the weaker bargaining position of the consumer, forces consumers to comply with unnecessary conditions for the protection of the supplier’s legitimate interests, exerts undue influence or pressure or uses unfair tactics against the consumer.
    (c) Unsafe or defective goods in the market in accordance with articles 31/32 of the regulations, which prohibit persons in trade or commerce from supplying goods which do not comply to prescribed consumer product safety and product information standards.
  2. Alerting the Member States and the general public of unsafe products in the Common Market, and conducting product recalls in accordance with articles 30 and 33 of the Regulations respectively.
  3. iii. Conducting awareness and education to relevant stakeholders including authorities, consumers and businesses in COMESA Member States on consumer protection matters to enable them to make informed decisions.
  4. Undertaking market inspection, surveillance and assessments to establish compliance with the Regulations.
  5. Facilitating the exchange of information on consumer protection among the Member States.
  6. Developing and disseminating information on trending consumer protection concerns in the market, the Commission’s decisions, guidelines, and policy perspectives on consumer protection cases.
  7. Initiating and proposing regional consumer protection policies, laws and guidelines to enhance consumer welfare in the Common Market.
  8. Collaborating and coordinating with regional and international organizations to ensure best practices in the Common Market.

In conducting its functions and in accordance with articles 35, 36 and 37, the Division assesses the liabilities of suppliers and facilitates the resolution of consumer complaints in expedient, cost effective, timely, fair and transparent manner.