From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), on Thursday,  said it has busted ‘underweight’ rice merchants at Garki, Abuja.

The commission explained that the actions of the merchants, as discovered, indicated major discrepancies between the weight claims and the actual content of the products.

Acting Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, FCCPC, Dr. Adamu Abdullahi, in a statement, said the discovery was made during the commission’s routine enforcement operations at the Garki Modern Market, in Abuja.

He said: “This action was part of the commission’s ongoing efforts to protect consumer rights and interests as mandated by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA) 2018, particularly under Sections 17(l)(s), 116(2), 124, 125, 138, and 155.

“The operation was aimed to verify the accuracy of product claims on 25kg and 50kg bags of rice. Sadly, our findings revealed major discrepancies between the weight claims and the actual content. Such practices not only violate the FCCPA, but also exploit consumers through deceptive means.”

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He said the commission had issued summons to the perpetrators.

“They are required to appear before the commission and provide written undertakings to cease these deceptive practices. A Mutual Supervisory Understanding (MSU) will also be issued to monitor compliance.

“As we approach the festive season (Easter and Sallah), like every other season, the FCCPC encourage consumers to demand and insist on full value for money. We insist on verifying the weight of rice packages to align with stated claims, or better still report any inconsistencies to the commission.”

The FCCPC boss insisted that, in accordance with Section 125 of the FCCPC Act, businesses must not make false or deceptive representations about material facts to consumers.

“Similarly, Section 138 places liability on manufacturers, importers, distributors, and suppliers for breach of implied obligations by law, including product claims.”

He restated that the commission was committed to safeguarding consumer rights, and will continue to relentlessly pursue fairness in the marketplace.