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/

How to Prevent Online Shopping and Debit Card Fraud.

The Electronic Payments System is being targeted more and more by fraud. In order to prevent you from being a victim, always be vigilant with your debit card activities. The ease of shopping and comparing products and prices online has made it an attractive option for many shoppers. If you notice any unusual debit card activity on your statement, please notify the bank immediately to see what your bank can do to help.

Using a card provides you with extra protection if things go wrong – protection that you don’t necessarily have if you pay by cheque or cash. In addition to this extra protection provided, there are steps you can take to safeguard yourself.

Incorporating the practices listed below into your daily routine can help keep your cards and account numbers safe.

  • Check your statements. Don’t wait for the statement to come; check your online banking regularly. Watch for transactions that you didn’t make.
  • Limit your online purchasing to one card. When you use more cards, you allow access to more accounts.
  • Invest in a reloadable card when making online purchases. Reloadable cards allow you to limit the amount you place on the card and are not linked to your bank account. For example the Nakumatt Global Card and the KCB Pepea Card
  • Open a second checking account specially used for internet purchases. Don’t allow this account to be connected to your other accounts. Transfer only the purchase amount into the account.
  • Keep record of your internet transactions. Check your email for a confirmation after you have made purchases online. Verify your mailing address with the post office and  ­financial institutions.
  • Save your receipts to compare with your statement.
  • Don’t give your information out over the phone unless you’ve made the call to a company you know.
  • Your bank should have your information on file, so, don’t give out any personal or card number information if you receive a call to “verify fraudulent activity.
  • Use an online payment service like PayPal.
  • Use familiar websites. If you’ve never done business with them before, ­first do an online search for reviews or complaints.
  • Destroy your card when it expires or when a new card becomes effective.
  • Memorize your PIN. Do not write it on your card or keep it with you. Never give it out.
  • Remember to pick up your ATM receipts before leaving the ATM.
  • Be aware of added fixtures to ATMs, Skimming devices allow fraudsters to collect card and PIN information.

Finally, your card company should be your first point of contact – not the police. It will be up to your card company and not you the account holder, to pass details to the police. Where an additional crime has been committed with the fraud, for example, you have had your wallet stolen or your card used fraudulently as a result of a burglary, or if you want to claim on your household goods then this should still be reported to the police.

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.

Certain cybercrimes you need to know about

Any criminal activity that uses a computer either as an instrumentality, target or a means for cyber crimesperpetuating further crimes comes within the ambit of cybercrime.
All crimes performed by abuse of electronic media or otherwise, with the purpose of influencing the functioning of computer or computer system. The followings are the top listed types of cybercrime:
Hacking
Hacking is a simple term means illegal intrusion into a computer system without the permission of the computer owner/user. Hackers usually do that with the intention of obtaining confidential information.
Virus Dissemination
Virus itself is software that attacks other software. It may cause for data loss, deduction of bandwidth speed, hardware damage etc. Trojan Horse, Time Bomb, Logic Bomb, Rabbit are the malicious software.
Software Piracy
Theft of software through the illegal coping of genuine programs or distribution of products intended to pass for the original.
Credit Card Fraud
You simply have to type credit card number into www page of the vendor for online transaction. If electronic transactions are not secured the credit card numbers can be stolen by the hackers who can misuse this card by impersonating the credit card owner.
Sale of Illegal Articles
Narcotics, weapons and wild life etc. are sold by posting information on websites, auction websites, and bulletin board or simply by using email communication. Many of auction sites are believed to be selling cocaine in the name of money.
Intellectual Property Crimes
These include software piracy, copyrights, infringement, trademark violations, theft of computer source code etc.
Email Spoofing
A spoofed email is one that appears to originate from one source but actually has been sent from another source. Personal Relationship may be jeopardized because of email spoofing.
Cyber Defamation
With help of computers and/ or the Internet When any defamation takes place it is called cyber defamation. It can tarnish personal image of any individual or reputation of any company, bank or institution.
Cyber Stalking
Cyber stalking involves following a person’s movement across the Internet by posting messages on the bulletin boards frequented by the victim, entering the chat-room frequently by the victim, constantly bombarding the victim with emails etc.
Email Bombing
Email bombing can be committed by sending huge number of emails to the victim resulting in the victim’s email account ( in case of an individual) or mail servers ( in case of company or an email service provider) crashing. Thousands of emails are sent to the personal account or mail server until it is crashed.
Data Diddling
Data diddling may be committed by altering raw data just before it is processed by a computer and then changing it back after processing is completed. Government offices may be victims to data diddling programs inserted when private parties were computerizing their systems.
Salami Attacks
For the commission of financial crimes salami attacks are used. Here the major thing is to make alteration which is so insignificant that in a single case it would go completely unnoticed. “For example a bank employee inserts a program, into the bank servers, that deduct a small amount of money from the account of every customer. No account holder will probably notice this unauthorized debit, but the bank employee will make a sizeable amount of money every month.

Child pornography

Child pornography is online trading of images of the children
involved in sexual activities.

NOVARTIS V CIPLA CASE

Swiss-firm-Nova5177Novartis, the Swiss drug multinational which fought a six-year battle for retaining its Glivec patent and lost the case in India, seems to have landed in yet another patent controversy now. This time it is about marketing of a respiratory drug, Indacaterol, at a very high price and that too in insufficient quantities. Marketed as Onbrez, the drug is used to treat breathing problems associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and it is estimated that more than 15 million Indians are afflicted with the disease.
Novartis has been granted the patent for the Onbrez in 2008 by Indian patent office but the company never attempted to manufacture the drug in the country and has been importing the same since then. As the import of the drug is not adequate to meet the growing demand of patients, a shortage situation already exists in the country causing distress to several thousands of patients according to Cipla, a leading Indian pharmaceutical company. It is rather surprising that neither the Patent Office in the country nor the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion took note of the shortage situation after the grant of the patent to Novartis.

Cipla in the meanwhile reported to have launched a cheaper version of the drug in the market on the ground that there is a shortage for the drug in the country and approached DIPP to revoke the patent granted to Novartis. DIPP has not taken a decision on this matter yet. Section 66 of the Indian Patents Act empowers the Central government to revoke a patent in public interest after giving the patent holder an opportunity to explain why it should not be revoked. Cipla’s stand is that there is an urgent and unmet need for the respiratory drug in India and it has to be made available at an affordable price to the patients.
If Cipla’s stand in this matter is factual, then the government needs to act fast on this matter and make the drug available to maximum number of patients in the country. How that should be done in a situation like this has to be decided by the government without any further loss of time. First of all, the government should have monitored the CIPLAavailability of the drug in the market after the grant of patent in 2008 as it is an exclusive marketing right for an essential drug. Cipla’s unilateral decision, at the same time, to launch a generic version of the drug in the market is debatable.

Cipla has asked the DIPP to revoke five patents of Novartis relating to the product citing need for public health access and stated the patent holder Novartis does not manufacture the drug in India.
Last year in April, Novartis had lost a seven-year long legal battle for getting its blood cancer drug Glivec patented in India and to restrain Indian companies from manufacturing generic drugs, with the Supreme Court rejecting the multinational company’s plea.

Continue reading

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.

Tax Planning pt 2: Individual Tax Planning

There are a limited number of methods, vehicles and techniques by which individuals can avoid taxes. These are highlighted below.

1. Tax Deductible Contributions to Retirement Benefit Schemes

Income tax laws have for the last 17 odd years provided that contributions to registered retirement benefit schemes can be deducted from gross income before taxable income is determined. The tax deductible contribution is currently set at a maximum of Ksh 20,000/= per month (Ksh 240,000/= per annum). These contributions achieve the twin aims of building retirement savings and reducing taxes paid.
It should be noted that upon reaching the set retirement age, the retirement savings are still taxable under certain conditions. When the individual desires to receive his retirement savings as a lump sum, a sum of Ksh 48,000/= per full year worked subject to a maximum of Ksh 480,000/=, is deductible from the lump sum before the balance is taxed under applicable tax bands for individual income. In addition, individuals who retire after 50 years or retire on medical grounds are liable to tax on the balance of the lump sum at wider tax bands, effectively reducing the tax rate. Overall, the option of accessing retirement savings as a lump sum may therefore significantly reduce the tax savings received from contributions made during income earning years.
Members of pension schemes, or members of an individual retirement scheme who opt to use their retirement savings to purchase an annuity (which will generate a periodic pension), will have various advantages. The first Ksh 180,000/= of the total pensions or retirement annuities received annually are tax exempt. Secondly, personal relief is applied to reduce the taxable income. Further, and as a result of changes brought about by the Finance Bill 2007, pensions for persons over 65 are now totally tax exempt.

2. Contributions to a Registered Home Ownership Savings Plan

The Income Tax Act has for some time provided that contributions to registered schemes designed and established to enable savings for purchase of residences can be deducted from gross income up to a maximum of Ksh 4,000/= per month (Ksh 48,000/= per annum). This has been enhanced by making interest earned on deposits of up to Ksh 3 million into such a scheme tax free. This avenue for savings and tax mitigation still remains relatively unattractive, however, since the enabling rules and regulations are difficult for banks to abide with. As a result, so far only one financial institution, Housing Finance, has launched a savings product for this purpose.

3. Mortgage Interest Deduction

Interest incurred on personal mortgages is deductible from gross income before arriving at taxable income, subject to a limit of Ksh 12,500/= per month or Ksh 150,000/= per annum.

4. Individual Investment in Various Assets so as to Avoid Taxes on Gains

The suspension of taxation of capital gains for more than two decades has meant that individuals have not been subjected to taxes on gains made on acquisition and subsequent disposal of assets such as immovable property, equities, and fixed income securities. When the same investments are made through a corporate entity, the gains can lead to taxable profits at corporate tax rates. An attempt in 2006 to reintroduce tax on capital gains realized on sale of immovable properties was unsuccessful after Parliament rejected the enabling provision of the Finance Bill.
It should be carefully noted that tax exemption is where the acquisition and disposal of assets is not a business activity carried on under the guise of personal investments. Section 3(2)(a) of the Income Tax Act provides that income tax is chargeable upon gains or profits from a business. In the definitions section of the Act “business” is defined to include any trade, profession or vocation, and every manufacture, adventure or concern in the nature of trade. This clearly captures regular personal trading in assets of whatever nature.
This exemption can be enjoyed by investment through Unit Trusts or other Collective Investment Schemes such as mutual funds. Such investment vehicles are subject only to withholding tax on dividends and interest income that they receive, with subsequent distributions from such entities to members being tax exempt.

5. Conducting Business Using a Corporate Entity so as to Enable Comprehensive Deductions of Business Expenses

While expenses legitimately incurred in the production of income are tax deductible regardless of the form of business, conducting business using a corporate entity enables clearer segregation of business and personal expenses, thus enhancing the deduction of certain expenses. This is especially in light of the fact that the Domestic Taxes Department will carefully scrutinize expenditure in the course of audits to determine if it was of a personal nature or not.
Individuals engaged in various professions, including entertainment can set up companies, labeled Personal Service Companies, to which they direct their income. This enables them to reduce taxable income by charging their gross income with certain tax deductible expenses they most probably would fail to deduct if they conducted their business as individuals.

Being admitted to the Kenya school of Law by case law

Eunice Cecilia Mwikali Maema v Council of Legal Education & 2 others Civil Appeal No 121 of 2013

Brief Facts

The appellant (Eunice Cecilia Mwikali Maema) upon completion of her Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at Coventry University in England and Master of Laws (LLM) degree in University of Warwick in England in 2011 applied to be admitted to the Advocates Training Programme (ATP) for the 2013/2014 Academic Year. She however received a regret letter from the Kenya School of Law’s (KSL) Director on the basis that her LLB degree did not meet the threshold of the 16 core subjects as prescribed by law for purposes of admission to ATP.

Aggrieved by that decision she petitioned the High Court seeking declarations that she had complied with all requirements for admission to the ATP under Legal Notice 169 of 2009. She sought an order of certiorari to quash the decision contained in the letter rejecting her application for admission to the ATP; an order of mandamus to compel KSL and the Council to admit her to ATP. The High Court (Isaac Lenaola J) dismissed the appellant’s petition hence the appeal.

It was argued by the appellants counsel that when the appellant applied for admission the law did not require completion of the 16 core subjects; that the requirement only came with the enactment of the Legal Education Act of 2012, which could not apply retrospectively. They submitted that Legal Notice 170 of 2009 had nothing to do with admission with ATP but only dealt with accreditation of legal education institutions in Kenya. It only required universities to offer the 16 core subjects and there was no requirement that the students had to take those subjects. Further that if some subjects had not been covered at the university than they should be undertaken during the ATP at KSL.

The respondents however argued that Legal Notice 169 did not contain the councils prescribed examinations but they were set as core subjects in the Legal Notice 170 of 2009 to be offered by all accredited universities. That other applicants in a similar position as the applicants had taken the missing subjects at locally accredited universities

Issue

i. Whether it was a legal requirement for an applicant to have covered the 16 core subjects at the LLB degree Programme prior to application for admission to the Kenya School of Law.

Held

While the under graduate Programme offered by any accredited institution had to comprise core units, there was no express requirement that a student undertaking the Programme at such institution had to take those units.
Students enrolling for legal education Programmer at universities or other institutions did so for a variety of reasons. Some might or might not have wished to seek postgraduate admission to the ATP. However, for those who wished to gain admission to the ATP at KSL, the Council, under Regulation 5(2) (a) of the Council of Legal Education (KSL) Regulations, 2009 set relevant qualifying examinations.
The relevant qualifying examinations had to include the 16 core subjects prescribed for the universities under Paragraph 20 of Part III of the Third Schedule to the Council of Legal Education (Accreditation of Legal Education Institutions) Regulations.
The 16 identified subjects or units were so central and important that for purposes of regulating standards, an undergraduate Programme that did not include those units failed the test of accreditation. The Council could not on the one hand determine certain subjects to be core for purposes of accrediting an institution and at the same time not consider them as core for purposes of qualifying for admission to the advocates training Programme at the School.
The subsidiary legislation by the Council could have been better framed and structured to make it abundantly clear that a degree from any institution that did not include those units would not be recognized for purposes of admission to advocates training Programme.
Any ambiguity or lack of clarity however was removed with the enactment of the Legal Education Act, that commenced operation on 28th September 2012 and whose objective was to promote legal education and the maintenance of the highest possible standards in legal education. Section 23 of that Act expressly provided for core degree courses and stipulated that a legal education provider offering a course for the award of a degree in law was to in addition to any other courses offered, provide instruction and examination for each of the core courses set out in Part II of the Second Schedule to that Act.
While foreign universities and institutions outside Kenya were outside the accreditation jurisdiction of the Council, the requirement that a degree from a foreign university or institution had to contain the core units was not to extend the accreditation jurisdiction of the Council to foreign universities but to avoid different or double standards for local and foreign law degree holders.
Law degrees earned from foreign universities or institutions had to for purposes of admission to the advocates training Programme at the school, be held against the standards that the council had set out. All applications for admission to the School had to be considered against the same standards set by the Council.
To exclude the appellant from complying with the fulfillment of the requirement of core subjects was propagating the very discrimination the appellant complained about. She could not be admitted to KSL and be required to study the remaining core subjects there as the school no longer offered them.
Appeal dismissed with each party bearing their own costs of the appeal.

There are sixteen courses in total: Legal Research; Torts; Contracts; Constitutional Law; Legal Systems and Methods; Criminal Law; Family Law and Succession; Law of Evidence; Commercial Law (Including Sale of Goods, Hire Purchase and Agency); Law of Business Associations (including Insolvency); Administrative Law; Jurisprudence; Equity and Law of Trusts; Property Law; Public International Law; Labour Law. 2 Students who have advanced law degrees (master’s or doctorate degrees) or postgraduate diplomas in the mandatory course units may apply for exemption in writing.

see http://kenyalaw.org/caselaw/cases/view/92992/