By Innocent Orok
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has partnered online trading platforms to address influx of substandard goods into the country.
The standards body opined that the move was aimed to checkmate activities of unscrupulous dealers who would want to take advantage of online platforms to make Nigeria a dumping ground for substandard goods.
The Head of Department, Consumer Complaint of SON, Mrs Mosunmola Samuel made this known to newsmen in Lagos on Friday. According to her, e-commerce is sophisticated and dynamic which in turn makes it difficult to track substandard goods since most of these dealers do not have warehouses or fixed addresses.
She said as a result of this, SON’s partnership with online traders would help to track down dealers who would want to abuse online platforms to sell their substandard wares, while urging consumers to always report to SON whenever they had issues with products bought both online and at the physical markets.
“Most of these online dealers import their products as personal effects as the growth of e-commerce in the Nigerian community is becoming huge and many steps have been taken for its promotion, but there are still lots to be done to make it operate in accordance with standards in the country.
” This is why we are working assiduously on partnering with online merchants to ensure that Nigeria is not a destination for substandard goods,” she said.
“We get the feedback through the head of our public relations and follow up with directives to such online merchants to stop the sales of such products immediately we get a complaint and they will pull it down.
“You know with online marketing, you don’t need to have a shop or selling point , all you need is just a handfull of those products and you are already in business.”
She pointed out that e-commerece consumers could get their products from overseas as personal effects and you know in such areas, SON could not directly stop the importation until the products imported as personal products were brought online for sell to Nigerian consumers. While noting that it was based on such issues that the organisation was canvassing to be at the ports for on- the -spot inspection and testing.
She also stated that SON had notified sister agencies on the need to step up their ante in the nation’s bid to combat menace of substandard goods as the work of standards remained a collective fight by all and sundry. She however, urged online merchants to strictly adhere to quality products and services to achieve inclusive growth.
“The world all over is about standards and we are working tirelessly to educate Nigerians so as to be abreast with global trend. On e-commerce, we have so many operating on different platforms and if these products are not registered with our product registration department, it means that they are not complying with the requirements of our act. So we need to check and find out where these products are coming from and for every products coming into the country, there is always a major channel,” she said.
The SON official opined that the organisation was appreciative of feedbacks from consumers as “We are happy when consumers give us feedbacks, the feedbacks showed the level of confidence reposed in the SON and the Federal Government.
“We are proud for the trust in us to start our consumer protection mandate as it also helps us develop and introduce new standards,” she averred.
Mrs Samuel added that consumer complaints were the first steps of redress that consumers took in the process of consumer protection, stressing that feedback had more power than ever.
“Hence, this is the most important aspect of every business and SON recognising this, which is why our customer feedback unit is capable of addressing consumer complaints,” she added.
She further pointed out that SON handled consumer complaints through its customer feedback desks which are in all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
While also reaffirming the agency’s commitment to effective management by managing complaints in an accountable, transparent, timely and fair manner. Recognising that effective complaints management remained integral to good client service as it valued all complaints and encouraged a people-focused and proactive approach to complaints management.