Consumer Responsibilities

 

Anwar-FazalIn the 1980s, CI’s then president, led the call to also introduce a set of consumer responsibilities to compliment consumer rights.

These remain crucial principles for many consumer rights organisations today:

Critical awareness – consumers must be awakened to be more questioning about the provision of the quality of goods and services.
Involvement or action – consumers must assert themselves and act to ensure that they get a fair deal.
Social responsibility – consumers must act with social responsibility, with concern and sensitivity to the impact of their actions on other citizens, in particular, in relation to disadvantaged groups in the community and in relation to the economic and social realties prevailing.
Ecological responsibility – there must be a heightened sensitivity to the impact of consumer decisions on the physical environment, which must be developed to a harmonious way, promoting conservation as the most critical factor in improving the real quality of life for the present and the future.
Solidarity – the best and most effective action is through cooperative efforts through the formation of consumer/citizen groups who together can have the strength and influence to ensure that adequate attention is given to the consumer interest.

source: http://www.consumersinternational.org/who-we-are/consumer-rights/

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Consumer Rights

On 15 March, 1962, US President John F. Kennedy delivered an historic address to the US Congress in which he outlined his vision of consumer rights. This was the first time any politician had formerly set out such principles.

‘Consumers by definition, include us all,’ Kennedy said in his Congressional Statement, ‘They are the largest economic group, affecting and affected by almost every public and private economic decision. Yet they are the only important group… whose views are often not heard.’

Over time, the consumer movement has developed this vision into a set of eight basic consumer rights that now define and inspire much of the work CI and its members do (around areas such as financial services and communications):

The right to satisfaction of basic needs – To have access to basic, essential goods and services: adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, education, public utilities, water and sanitation.
The right to safety – To be protected against products, production processes and services that are hazardous to health or life.
The right to be informed – To be given the facts needed to make an informed choice, and to be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising and labelling.
The right to choose – To be able to select from a range of products and services, offered at competitive prices with an assurance of satisfactory quality.
The right to be heard – To have consumer interests represented in the making and execution of government policy, and in the development of products and services.
The right to redress – To receive a fair settlement of just claims, including compensation for misrepresentation, shoddy goods or unsatisfactory services.
The right to consumer education – To acquire knowledge and skills needed to make informed, confident choices about goods and services, while being aware of basic consumer rights and responsibilities and how to act on them.
The right to a healthy environment -To live and work in an environment that is non-threatening to the well-being of present and future generations.

 

source http://www.consumersinternational.org/who-we-are/consumer-rights/

Will you read this article about ONLINE terms and conditions? You really should do

We live in a time of terms and conditions. Never before have we signed or agreed so many. But one thing hasn’t changed: we still rarely read them.T AND CC )
While companies need to protect their interests given the frivolous lawsuits in vogue, you should know when terms and conditions become more than standard operating procedure and turn into ransom notes. The consumer is forced to agree to the terms in order to proceed to the next step, whether it is to use a service or install software.
Here are some of the things that you should look for before clicking ‘I accept’.
                                                                                               Free mobile apps
INTERNET T AND CMany so-called free apps for your smartphone or tablet are supported by ads. Read through the terms—the app could be accessing your personal information, mainly to deliver targeted ads. Also, as mobile ads will be delivered whenever the app is active, it will add to your data usage at the end of the month.
Photo sharing and printing websites
You own the intellectual property rights to your photographs, but what happens if you upload themT AND C to a photo sharing website? Who owns them if you upload them to a stock photo site? Or to a photo printing website? You might be shocked to learn that several photo sharing/printing websites retain the right to use your photographs in any way they see fit in a ‘perpetual and irrevocable’ manner. So, check before uploading.
Buying online/booking tickets
This is one area that can have a lot of ambiguity. Do manufacturer warranties apply to products bought online? What happens if there is a defect or you need to return the item? If case of airline tickets, prices are volatile and you need to read the fine print to make sure that you can return and get a refund. Many ‘special fare tickets’ are sold on the condition that they will not be returned/refunded.
Protecting Twitter & Facebook accounts
A rising trend points towards websites allowing you to sign in and start using their services by using your existing Twitter, Google or Facebook ID. Though you skip the registration process (which encourages more users), the website identifies its visitor and gets more information. This is officially allowed using Facebook, Google connect and Twitter sign in. However, you may find automated posts and tweets being sent on your behalf. Check the permissions you are granting the site or app before allowing access to your account. If it says ‘Allow app/site to post/send tweet’ or ‘Grant permission to post on your behalf’, cancel and run.
Online shopping
Have you ever thought how your name and e-mail address find their way to various websites that you have never heard of? Whenever you sign up for newsletters, to comment on an article you read, or for a community forum, your personal information can be misused. Not only could this website start sending you e-mail spam (special offers, notices), but could even sell your e-mail ID to third parties without your consent.
Sharing personal information on e-mail
Ever notice how the text ads in your e-mail inbox are creepily ‘right on the money’? All the baby clothing store ads appear if you’ve had a baby. Camera stores materialise if you’re a photographer and local restaurants pop up if you’re discussing a dinner date with a friend. Targeted ads, especially those with accurate location and demographics, can earn a lot of money. By agreeing to the terms, you become the conduit.
By accepting these terms, you are literally agreeing to anything and everything the service imagesprovider may ask of you, now or in the future, as long as you are availing of its services. There aren’t too many ways out of the situation, other than opting for another service provider. However, needless to say, it is time you started reading the terms carefully, and more frequently.

The Nine  Dont’s of writing a legal research paper

1.       NOT PROVABLE

Do not pick a topic which, by its very nature, cannot be proven, or researched using normal standards of evidence.

For example: Avoid such topics as: ESP; the existence of God; mystical events; “Gods from Outer Space;” “alien abduction”; miracles of any kind; whether there is “life after death;” etc.

It’s best to avoid any kind of religious topic except, possibly, an historical one.

2.       STRONG FEELINGS OR BIAS

Avoid any topic which you feel so strongly about that you could not have an open mind about it.

For example: If you passionately hate Fidel Castro, or Newt Gingrich, do not write on them.

If you choose such a topic, you will not be setting out to discover the truth.

Instead, you will be setting out to find examples or evidence to support preconceived ideas you already hold.

But research is the attempt to discover the truth. So you will not be doing research.

However, if you are interested in a topic, and at the same time feel you could have an open mind about it, then that would be a good topic for you. You will be more interested and motivated to spend the long hours of research, and will think more creatively and better about your topic, if you are interested in it.

3.       STATISTICS

Do not pick a topic where you will have to rely upon complex statistical information which you cannot understand.

If you do, you will be choosing to “believe” the source of your statistics. Believing authorities is not research, and can never lead you to discovering the truth.

Exception: you can use statistics  the United Nations, provided that you know how to use them, and look for critiques of them. But avoid statistics from private research organizations or foundations.

4.       TECHNICAL

In general, do not pick any technical topics. Only those who have technical skills can do research in technical areas. If you believe you have such technical skills in some area, please consult with me first.

5.       LEGAL

Avoid legal topics — any topic which involves determining whether something is, or might be, “legal” or “illegal.”

Legal research is not research in the sense in which we are studying and using it here. Legal research is concerned with finding precedents in previous law cases decided by various courts. This is a specialized skill. It is not concerned with discovering the truth.

6.       MORAL

Avoid choosing topics in which your “research” would mainly be deciding whether something is “right” or “wrong,” “good” or “bad.”

Moral judgments cannot be proven true or false in the same way that other statements can be.

7.       CONTEMPORARY

Do not pick a topic which involves events that are so recent that it would be difficult or impossible to find other research on them.

One of the most important ways of learning research methods is to study good research done by experienced researchers on the same topic you are interested in. This won’t be possible to do in the case of a very recent topic. Therefore, you should avoid such topics.

9.       CAN’T GET AT THE EVIDENCE

Don’t pick a topic where you obviously can’t gain access to the evidence, or to the object to be studied.

 

 


REMEMBER THE “X” RULE:

In order to come to correct conclusions about X, you must study X directly

where X is any object of study.

Will a denial of broadcasting service to digitally non-compliant households constitute a violation of the constitutional right to receive information and ideas?

 

Digital broadcasting has emerged as a globally accepted standard for next-generation mass media. It presents a method of relaying radio and television signals with various advantages from analogue broadcasting. It enables a more efficient use of bandwidth and the bundling of multiple channels in one frequency. Moreover, digitally broadcast images, video and audio have a higher quality than their analogue counterparts. The transition from digital to signal broadcasting is arguably the most significant technological cross-over for television and is only closely rivaled, if not slightly surpassed, by the invention of colour television.

 

At the stroke of midnight at the end of 17th June 2015, all nations will cease all analogue broadcasts of radio and television signals and switch over to the transmission of digital-only signals with the exception of

digital migration
digital migration

some developing countries for which the transition period will end on 17 June 2020. On that date, all analogue television sets for which the owners will not have installed a digital signal converter will go black.

In Kenya however, the communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) have new self-imposed datelines. They will carry out the analogue switch-off exercise in 3 phases to wit; Nairobi on 13th December, 2013; Mombasa, Malindi, Nyeri, Meru, Kisumu, Webuye, Kisii, Nakuru and Eldoret on 30th March, 2014 and the rest of the country on 30th June, 2014.

Consumers of analogue television services and members of the public in general through Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK) have opposed the move by CCK to switch off analogue television frequency signals by 13th December 2013 or any other date before June 2014. They contend that this notice is too short and inappropriate considering that December is a festive season, immediately after which school re-opening calendar together with prevalent economic challenges facing Kenyans puts financial pressure on poor households not to forget the need for Kenyans to follow important national developments which include devolution and constitutional implementation processes, among others.

CCK’s decision, in the event that it is sustained, will lock out millions of Kenyans from following important national matters such as legislations, government policies, and matters of national interest, among others as envisaged under Article 35 of the Constitution of Kenya. While they claim , that so far 500,000 set boxes have been sold in Nairobi, there is no similar evidence and goodwill to demonstrate that the over 3,500,000 remaining television owners will purchase the compulsory and prescribed gadgets

The consumers and general public right to information will be severely infringed because current free-to-air channels, some paid for by the taxpayer, are being forced into pay-TV bundles vide a set-top box which are not free of cost. The specific case in which consumers of television services cannot access NTV, Citizen TV and KTN on the StarTimes platform is one such discrimination, against Article 27(4) of the Constitution of Kenya, which is being perpetuated with untold impunity as CCK maintain their loud silence. It should be a requirement that all set-top boxes/integrated digital TVs must be able to receive all non-encrypted free to air TV. In Denmark, the Ministry of Research and Communication has determined (Danish Ministry of Research, departmental order no. 709 of 25 June 1996) that “Digital decoders must be constructed in a way that allows non-encrypted digital TV signals to pass transparently through them.”

Further, there has been no sufficient public information, education and communication campaign to raise awareness on digital migration to allow consumers the freedom of choice as envisaged in Article 46 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and the Consumer Protection Act, 2012.

digital 2
The foregoing concerns are not the bitter pill of new technology that a society must take at a certain time in its development. Rather, once resolved, they will be the relish with which the consumer will find the transition to digital broadcasting more appetizing. The national digital broadcasting switchover programme will need to anticipate and resolve these concerns.

The Internet and The Constitution:Consumer Rights

In the emerging digital economy where technology is rapidly taking the place of personal interactions in the supply of goods and services, the consumer has become both more empowered and more vulnerable. Strong consumer protection regimes are an imperative for an Internet-driven globalized market.

The repealed Constitution did not make any provisions declaring the rights of consumers. Consumer protection therefore remained the subject of statutory enactments/Acts of Parliament. The Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998 and its Kenya Communications Regulations 2001 made various provisions for the protection of consumers of ICT services.

However under the current Constitution,in section 47 all Consumers    have the right-

 

  •  to goods and services of reasonable quality;
  • to the information necessary for them to gain full benefit from goods and services;
  • to the protection of their health, safety and economic interests; and
  • to be compensated for loss or injury arising from defects in goods or services.

Closely linked with consumer rights is the right to fair administrative action. A modern trend in many administrative offices has been the adoption of service charters that include an open door policy where members of the public can present their grievances. However, this is a practice that depends on the goodwill of the officeholder as it is not anchored in law. Even while in the communications sector the Regulator, Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has been generally fair in responding to consumer complaints, the law will now compel them to also be expeditious, efficient, lawful, reasonable as well as procedurally fair.

Consequently, Consumer Protection Bill, 2011 is to be enacted to provide for the protection of the consumer, prohibit unfair trade practices in consumer transactions,to promote a fair, accessible and  sustainable marketplace for consumer products and services and for that purpose to establish national norms and standards relating to consumer protection, to provide for improved standards of consumer information, to promote responsible consumer behavior, to promote a consistent legislative and enforcement framework relating to consumer transactions and agreements, to make consequential amendments to various other Acts; and to provide for matters connected with and incidental thereto.

THE INTERNET AND THE CONSTITUTION: PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY

The Internet emerged as an increasingly important forum for political debate, particularly during the run-up to the August 2010 referendum in which voters approved a new constitution. Political and civic organizations used the Internet to distribute educational material such as pamphlets, videos, and statements about their positions on the draft constitution, as well as to publicize rallies related to the referendum.I will be reviewing  the different laws within the Constitution that  relate to the Internet and I will also give a comparative analysis of the old and new Constitutions in relation to the Internet

This document ratified by Kenyans at the Referendum presents a paradigm shift in ICT and also provides a basis for enactment of lacking laws such as data protection, freedom of information, privacy and consumer protection which have been blamed for drawing back the industry.

Privacy and Confidentiality

For a long time, the right to privacy had not been expressly legislated as a constitutional norm in Kenya. Save as a broad constitutional norm encompassed in the freedom from unlawful entry into one’s premises, the search and seizure of one’s property[1] and effects and freedom from interference with one’s correspondence,[2] the right to privacy was not expressly legislated as a constitutional or statutory norm in Kenya. As a corollary, there was no express constitutional right to confidentiality and the protection of personal information. Kenyan practice on the right to privacy and confidentiality was guided largely by English Common law. The rights expressed in these provisions were made subject to the standard constitutional exceptions to the enjoyment of individual rights: the interests of national defence, public order and morality, the rights of other persons and the exercise of authority by state officers.

The right to privacy as provided for in  Article 31 of the Constitution  was expanded to include the right not to have information relating to a person’s family or private affairs unnecessarily required or revealed as well as the right not to have the privacy of a person’s communications infringed.[3]This was a positive step in a digital world where interactions requiring personal data are more common than before therefore making the need for protection of the person paramount. This provision also provides a basis for the long awaited legislation on data protection as well as privacy.

As far as privacy and data protection is concerned, the new Constitution has made an emphatic break with the tradition of the repealed Constitution. Kenyans’ rights to privacy, to access to public information and the right to object to unnecessary demands for personal information has leapt out of legal obscurity to claim their place in the new bill of rights among constitutionally elite rights such as the right to life and freedom of expression.[4] In due course, Kenya’s parliament or the Judiciary should, through statutory enactments and judicial opinions, make further provisions relating to more particular aspects of data protection, such as the classes of personal information and their differential treatment and a delineation of the circumstances that would constitute a reasonable demand for or disclosure of personal information.


[1] In section 76 of the now repealed constitution it was provided that:

Except with his own consent, no person shall be subjected to the search of his person or property or the entry by others on his premises.’

[2] Section 79 provided that:

Except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of expression, that is to say, freedom to hold opinions without interference, freedom to receive ideas and information without interference, freedom to communicate ideas and information without interference and freedom from interference
with his correspondence.’

 

[3] In the New Constitution,Article 31 provides:

Every person has the right to privacy, which includes the right not to have-

  1. their person, home or property searched;
  2. their possessions seized;
  3. information relating to their family or private affairs unnecessarily required on revealed; or
  4. the privacy of their communications infringed.

[4] See Michael Murungi, Kenya’s New Constitution Sets New Standards for Privacy and Data Protection,available at http://michaelmurungi.blogspot.com/2011/01/kenyas-new-constitution-sets-new.html (last accessed on 18/7/2011).

 

 

Apple Vs. Samsung: Phones that brought the $ 1 billion verdict

Apple won a decisive victory against Samsung in court last week when a jury awarded $1.05 billion in damages to Apple for Samsung’s infringement of design patents, software patents and trade dress.

The Apple Vs. Samsung ruling has been released, and there is a lot to process in there, but one of the most interesting things is the list showing how much each Samsung contributed to the more than $1 billion ruling Accused Samsung Product Amount

Captivate (JX 1011) $80,840,162

Continuum (JX 1016) $16,399,117

Droid Charge (JX 1025) $50,672,869

Epic 4G (JX1012) $130,180,896

Exhibit 4G (JX 1028) $1,081,820

Fascinate (JX 1013) $143,539,179

Galaxy Ace (JX 1030)$0

Galaxy Prevail (JX 1022) $57,867,383

Galaxy S (i9000) (JX 1007) $0

Galaxy S 4G (JX 1019) $73,344,668

Galaxy S II (AT&T) (JX 1031) $40,496,358

Galaxy S II (i9100) (JX 1032) $0

Galaxy S II (T-Mobile) (JX 1033) $83,791,708

Galaxy S II (Epic 4G Touch) (JX 1034) $100,326,988

Galaxy S II (Skyrocket) (JX 1035) $32,273,558

Galaxy S Showcase (i500) (JX 1017) $22,002,146

Galaxy Tab (JX 1036) $1,966,691

Galaxy Tav 10.1 (WiFi) (JX 1037) $0

Galaxy Tab 10.1 (4G LTE) (JX 1038) $0

Gem (JX 1020) $4,075,585

Indulge (JX 1026) $16,011,184

Infuse 4G (JX 1027) $44,792,974

Intercept (JX 1009) $0

Mesmerize (JX 1015) $53,123,612

Nexus S 4G (JX 1023)$1,828,297

Replenish (JX1024) $3,350,256

Transform (JX 1014) $953,060

Vibrant (JX 1010) $89,673,957

Both companies are due back in  court on Sept. 20 to begin the process of injunctions against the devices found to have infringed on Apple’s patents.

The Apple Vs. Samsung ruling (PDF link)

Raviting Rambles | Legal Versus Ethical compliance mechanisms in Corporate Governance: Can one survive without the other in Corporations?

Raviting Rambles | Legal Versus Ethical compliance mechanisms in Corporate Governance: Can one survive without the other in Corporations?.