ISLAMABAD: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) on Thursday imposed a penalty of Rs18 million on 18 electric cable manufacturers for violating Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010, by hiding the presence of cash/cash coupons inside the packaging of electric wire cable bundles.
According to the CCP’s statement, on receipt of information, the commission conducted an enquiry that many electric wire manufacturing companies were inserting cash/cash coupons inside the bundle packs of electric wire but they were not disclosing this on the packaging or other promotional material.
“The practice only benefits the electricians who generally open the packs and deceives the end consumers who ultimately pay for the value of the coupons but are unaware of it,” said the CCP.
During the enquiry, the commission found as many as 18 electric cable manufacturers, including Dawn Cables, GM Cables, Fast Cable, Hitech English Cables, Pak Muzaffar Cable, Alfa Plus Wire Cable, Hi Ace English Cable, Gold Royal Cable, Zafar Cable, Nation Cable, Puller Cable, Welcome Cables, Dewan Cables, E-Flux Cables, Hero Cable, Falcon Cable, Lear Cables and Rana Cables, inserting cash coupons of various denominations in the packing of their electric cable/wire bundles and not disclosing it anywhere.
While appearing before the commission, most of these cable manufacturers admitted their involvement in the deceptive practice and made commitments to stop doing so in the future.
The order stated that the insertion of the token in the electric cable packs without due disclosure is a violation of section 10, as the products lack a reasonable basis related to the price printed for the consumer. The order imposed a penalty of Rs5 million on each on Fast Cables and GM Cables and Pipes, and Rs500,000 each on remaining 16 cable manufacturers, directing them to refrain from indulging in any form of deceptive marketing practices in the future.
The commission also issued directives to these companies to disclose the presence and the coupon’s value in their marketing material, and publish four advertisements of A-4 size in 2 English 2 Urdu newspapers of national circulation informing the public about the presence and price value of coupons. Moreover, they were also directed to visibly print the token’s value on the packaging, and submit a compliance report within 60 days to the registrar of the commission.
CCP is mandated under the Competition Act to ensure free competition in all spheres of commercial and economic activity, to ensure economic efficiency and to protect consumers from anti-competitive practices indulging deceptive marketing.