- To whom does the Competition Act 2007 apply ?
The Act applies to an enterprise in The Gambia with an annual turnover exceeding two hundred and fifty thousand dalasis based on the enterprise’s accounts for the immediately preceding financial year.
- What is the complaint procedure?
(a)The Complainant shall come to our office and fill the complaint form.
(b) The Commission shall encourage enterprises and consumers to bring alleged anti-competitive practices to the attention of the Executive Secretary with as much detail relevant to the complaint as is possible.
(c) The Executive Secretary shall receive, on behalf of the Commission, any complaints about alleged anti-competitive practices.
(d) The Commission shall acknowledge, in writing, receipt of complaints submitted to it, and may take into account anonymous complaints to the extent that they are corroborated by other information.
(e) The Executive Secretary shall –
(i) reject unsubstantiated complaints and provide an explanation to complainants when the subject matter of a substantiated complaint clearly falls outside the scope of the Act;
(ii) Seek a decision from the Commission (Commissioners) when a substantiated complaint is received but there is a doubt as to whether the subject matter falls within the scope of the Act.
(f) Where practicable, the explanation of the Executive Secretary and the decision on admissibility by the Commission shall be published.
(g) A complainant may request the Commission –
(i) To treat as confidential the information he or she provides;
(ii) Not to reveal his or her identity to the enterprise about which the complaint is made.
(h) Information on the business of an individual complainant is also protected from wider public disclosure by the provisions of section 59 of the Competition Act.
- Does the Commission regulate prices?
No, the Commission is not mandated to regulate prices.
- What is a monopoly?
An enterprise is a monopoly under section 31(1)(a)(b) of the Competition Act, 2007 if thirty per cent or more of the goods or services of any description are supplied, or acquired by one enterprise; or seventy per cent of those goods or services are supplied, or acquired, by three or fewer enterprises.
- Which goods are essential commodities?
Essential commodities under section 2 of the Essential Commodities Act, 2015 are : rice, sugar, flour, edible oil, milk, tomato paste, onions, potatoes, whole chicken and chicken parts.
- To whom does the Essential Commodities Act 2015 apply?
The Act applies to importers, distributors and major retailers of the essential commodities.
- Can I trade without an essential commodities licence?
No, it is an offence under the Essential Commodities Act 2015 to trade in essential commodities without a licence. Section 17(1) of the Essential Commodities Act provides that a person who imports, distributes, or engages in major retail of any essential commodity in The Gambia without a licence issued by the Minister (the Minister responsible for trade) commits an offence and is liable on conviction if –
- an importer, to a fine of not exceeding one hundred thousand dalasis;
- a distributor, to a fine of not exceeding seventy thousand dalasis;
- a major retailer, to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand dalasis.
- What are powers of Commission during investigations?
Under section 39(2) of the Competition Act, 2007, the Commission may serve a written notice on an enterprise or any other person that appears to be in possession of relevant information or documents. A person who fails to comply with a notice served under subsection (2); or knowingly or recklessly provides that is false, misleading or incomplete, commits an offence and is liable on conviction, if an individual, to a fine of not less than one hundred thousand dalasis or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to both the fine and imprisonment, or if a body corporate, to a fine of not less than five hundred thousand dalasis.
Under section 40 of the Competition Act, an officer or agent of the Commission may enter, without prior notice, the premises of any enterprise for the purpose of obtaining information and documents required for an investigation.
Under section 41 of the Competition Act, 2007, forcible entry may be effected/done in limited circumstances by an officer or agent of the Commission into the premises of an enterprise, on the basis of a warrant issued by a judge or Magistrate, for the purpose of obtaining information and documents during investigation.
It is important to note that the powers conferred by section 41 of the Act should be used only as a last resort.
- What are consequences of being part of a cartel?
Commission may, in addition to, or in place of, giving a direction, make an order imposing a financial penalty on the enterprise under section 49(5) of the Competition Act.
The amount of the penalty must not exceed ten per cent of the turnover of the enterprise in The Gambia during the period of the breach of the prohibition up to a maximum period of three years.
Any enterprise which is found, after investigation and hearing by the Commission, to be a party to restrictive agreement subject to prohibition (cartel, price fixing, market sharing bid rigging etc) is liable to a civil action by any person who has suffered or may suffer loss or damage by virtue of the agreement.
- How does the Commission apply leniency ?
Where a party to an agreement that breaches either of the prohibitions (collusive agreements and bid rigging agreements) –
- Voluntarily discloses to the Commission the existence of the agreement, of which the Commission had no prior knowledge, the Commission grant the enterprise immunity from financial penalty; or
- While not taking the initiative in disclosing the breach of the infringement to the Commission, has nonetheless, cooperated subsequently in the provision of information to the Commission about the infringement, the Commission may grant the enterprise concerned a reduction in the amount of financial penalty.
CONSUMER PROTECTION FAQs
WHO IS A CONSUMER?
Is a person who buys goods or services for personal use and not for resale?
WHO CAN COMPLAIN TO THE COMMISSION?
The following people or group of people can complain to the Commission:
- Consumer who purchased or agreed to purchase goods or services;
- A recognised consumer association;
- One or more consumers for the benefit of all consumers having the same interest(class action);
- The State.
CAN I RETURN GOODS ALREADY BOUGHT?
Yes, provided the bought goods are defective or does not serve the purpose for which they are generally intended for.
CAN I RETURN GOODS BOUGHT AFTER 24 HOURS?
Yes, provided the circumstance and condition of the good bought passed the reasonability test.
IN WHAT CONDITION SHOULD THE GOODS SOUGHT TO BE RETURNED BE?
The goods or their packaging should not be altered or deformed in any way and there should be no diminution in the quantity and the quality of the goods
CAN I RETURN ALREADY BOUGHT GOOD SIMPLY BECAUSE THERE IS A CHEAPER ONE AVAILABLE IN ANOTHER SHOP?
IF, I HAVE A CONSUMER COMPLAINT AGAINST THE GSM COMPANIES OR NAWEC, WHO DO I COMPLAIN TO?
The Public Utility and Regulatory Authority (PURA) is the competent sector regulator you should first complain to.
IF, I HAVE CONSUMER COMPLAINT ABOUT SOLD FOOD PRODUCTS, WHO DO I COMPLAIN TO?
The Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA), is the competent sector regulator you should first complain to.
IF, I HAVE A CONSUMER COMPLAINT ABOUT FLIGHT AND AIRLINE SERVICES, WHO DO I COMPLAIN TO?
The Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is the competent sector regulator you should first complain to.
IF, I HAVE A CONSUMER COMPLAINT ABOUT MEDICINES, MEDICINAL AND PHARMCEUTICAL PRODUCTS, WHO DO I FIRST COMPLAIN TO?
The Medicines Control Agency is the competent sector regulator you should first complain to about medicines and medicinal products while Pharmacy Council is the regulator to complain to about pharmaceutical products.
IF, I HAVE A CONSUMER COMPLAINT ABOUT WEIGHTS AND MEASURES OF SOLD GOODS, WHO DO YOU COMPLAIN TO?
The Gambia Weights and Measures Bureau is the competent agency you should complain to.
CAN I BRING A CONSUMER COMPLAINT TO THE COMMISSION AFTER 2 YEARS FROM THE DATE THE CAUSE OF ACTION AROSE?
No, but a complaint may be filed after 2 years, if good cause can be shown for not filing within 2 years from the date the cause of action arose.
IF, I HAVE A CONSUMER COMPLAINT AGAINST A PUBLIC OR GOVERNMENT BODY, CAN I COMPLAIN TO THE COMMISSION?
Yes, you can.
WHAT KIND OF CONSUMER COMPLAINT SHOULD I BRING TO THE COMMISSION?
- Unresolved consumer complaint from the sector regulators can be forwarded to the Commission.
- The commission possess general consumer protection powers to handle complaint on purchased goods and contract of services, excluding contract of and for employment.