The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission says it has noted with sadness that schools have continued to force parents and guardian to only buy school uniforms from them at exorbitant prices.
The Commission says it has continued to receive complaints from some members of the public on this not only unfortunate, but also unfair practice.
“We therefore, wish to echo and reiterate our warning to such schools who have taken the law upon themselves to be engaging in unfair trading practices that exploits the consumers that we are actively investigating such issues and we will follow them accordingly,” says Commission Spokesperson Namukolo Kasumpa.
“It has also come to our attention that some schools are also tying school places to buying of the uniforms at the same school, a situation which is unfair and against the law as it limits consumer choices.”
Mrs Kasumpa said this behaviour by schools is uncalled for, and is tantamount to unfair trading practice.
“According to the Competition and Consumer Protection Act No. 24 of 2010, any institution or individual found guilty is liable to pay the CCPC a fine not exceeding ten percent of that person’s or enterprise’s annual turnover. What makes a sad reading is the fact that this trend is being perpetrated by school authorities, who should be custodians of the law, taking advantage of consumer’s desperate situations to engage in limiting consumer choice,” she said.
She warned that the Commission will not allow this situation to continue as it is likely to cause inflation of uniform prices and reduce consumer choice, while on the other hand it excludes other alternative sources that provide similar uniforms.
“This practice if allowed to continue, is likely to frustrate Government’s efforts to provide cheaper, affordable or free education as pupils are more likely to be turned away from the school if they do not buy the uniforms from the school. The Commission is aware that uniforms need to be standards and therefore schools should provide a general standard of what type, shade and color of uniforms that are required, and ensure that school children conform to the standard of uniforms as guided by the school, whilst allowing parents and guardians to purchase uniforms from other sources that produce similar uniforms and most likely at competitive prices.”
“The Commission, therefore, requests the perpetrators to immediately desist from such vices and appeal to affected members of the public to report schools involved in this practice to CCPC,” she says.