The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) has raised the alarm on some unscrupulous traders and companies that are reportedly taking advantage of the COVID-19 outbreak to sell bogus products.
CFTC Executive Director James Kaphale says international health authorities are still racing against time to find a cure of the COVID-19 and, therefore, no one should claim to have a cure.
“As such, any trader or merchant found representing that their product can cure the Corona Virus would be violating the Competition and Fair Trading Act (CFTA) and the Consumer Protection Act (CPA),” warns Kaphale.
He further said that any merchant found pricing excessively would be infringing the law.
“Section 43(1)(d) of the CFTA states that a person shall not, in relation to a consumer, engage in conduct that is likely to mislead the public as to the nature, price, availability, characteristics, suitability for a given purpose, quantity or quality of any products or services,” he said.
The Commission has warned it will impose stiff sanctions against any business person found engaging in deceptive practices or any other trade malpractices such as excessive pricing in the supply of products intended to fight the Corona Virus.
“The Commission is appealing to all consumers to observe laid down health rules including washing hands and reducing unnecessary travel as ways of mitigating the spread of the Corona Virus,” Kaphale added.
While Malawi has not registered a case yet, there has been considerable panic buying of face masks and sanitary products prompting price inflation among some pharmaceutical retailers.
The COVID-19 is said to be avoided by maintaining hygiene practices such as covering when coughing or sneezing and washing hands with soap on regular basis during the course of the day.