Boardless Namibian Estate Agents Board leaving consumers in the cold

Consumer activist group, the Namibia Consumer Protection Group (NCPG) has slammed the Namibia Estate Agents Board for running without a board for some time now which leaves consumers unprotected in their dealings with agents.

“It must be noted with disappointment also at the state of the Namibian Estate Agents Board (NEAB) which is without a Board for a lengthy period of time. They are the official regulating authority and every estate agent must be registered with it. Obviously, without a Board in place, consumers are not getting the protection they deserve under the law,” sais NCPG director Milton Shaanika-Louw.

The primary function of the Board is to protect the public interest (consumers) in their dealings with agents while maintaining and promoting the integrity of estate agents, he said.

Shaanika Louw has also been appointed by the ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development to the Namibia Standards Council, the governing council of the Namibia Standards Institute.

Through this representation, consumers participate in improving quality, industrial efficiency, productivity and promotion of trade to derive optimum benefits for Namibia and its consumers.

Shaanika Louw has also lambasted the delay in the submission of the Consumer Protection Bill to Parliament as very disappointing.

“The various stages and drafts that have been part of the process have been coming along since before 2010, when H.E. Dr. Hage Geingob (then Minister of Trade & Industry) promised in a speech read on his behalf that the Consumer Protection Act will be submitted to Parliament within one year.”

“The NCPG hopes that in this “year of reckoning”, the newly appointed Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development, Hon. Tjekero Tweya, will ensure that his staff brings this promise to reality,” said the consumer lobbyist.

In other consumer news, the global consumer movement will once again unite for a day of action on the 15th of March 2018.

The international theme for World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is ‘Making digital marketplaces fairer’.

“Building on the success of the 2017 #BetterDigitalWorld campaign, the 2018 campaign will aim to promote digital marketplaces that are more accessible, safer and fairer for consumers across the globe,” said Shaanika Louw.

He added, “E-commerce, or buying products and services online, has transformed the way we consume. Consumers with a connected device and a payment method can buy anything from music to take- away; book transport and accommodation; or buy tickets to events. This new way to trade has opened up a vast array of choice for consumers and enhanced convenience on a scale never seen before.”

However, along with benefits, e-commerce raises key issues for consumers such as: access to fair and secure markets, being sure there is redress when things go wrong, and being exposed to scams and fraud.

Shaanika Louw said because of this, the consumer movement must work to ensure that digital marketplaces are fairer for everyone.