CFTC cautions schools against tying tuition to supply of uniforms and other products

The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) has cautioned education institutions in Malawi to immediately stop and desist from tying the provision of tuition to the supply of uniforms, groceries, books and other products in order to promote competition and consumer protection in the education sector as provided for under the Competition and Fair Trading Act.

Acting Executive Director, Apoche Itimu

CFTC Acting Executive Director Apoche Itimu said in a statement issued on Friday that the Competition has learnt with concern that some learning institutions are still indulging in anti-competitive and unfair trading practices by tying the provision of tuition to their other products and services, which are in most cases excessively priced.

Itimu said the Commission has previously received complaints alleging that some schools tend to force students to buy uniforms from the same school, and they do not allow them to buy from alternative sources even when the uniform is readily available on the market.

“Similar to this complaint, some schools have gone to the extent of restricting students from buying groceries from any other outlet except the school tuck-shop. Furthermore, the Commission has received complaints alleging that some institutions of higher learning force students to buy books from their institution even when the same books are readily available on the market,” reads the statement in part.

Regarding these practices, the Commission cites Section 32 (2) (d) of the Competition and Fair Trading Act, which prohibits traders from making the supply of particular goods or services dependent upon the purchase of other goods or services from the supplier to the consignee.

Itimu warned that the Commission will not hesitate to take necessary actions to deal with education institutions that will be found engaging in tying or any other anti-competitive and/or unfair practice on the market.

“Should you observe any education institution engaging in these prohibited practices, please call our toll free line 2489 or call our Public Relations Officer Innocent Helema on +265 880 725 075,” concludes the statement.

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