Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) public relations officer Namukolo Kasumpa has warned schools that are in the habit of forcing parents of pupils to buy school items from them or selected suppliers.
In a statement, Kasumpa said the commission had observed a growing tendency by some schools that are directing parents to buy school items such as mattresses, uniforms and books strictly from selected suppliers.
She said the commission would not hesitate to penalise any schools that will be found wanting.
“The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is concerned with the growing tendency by Schools to direct or force parents and guardians of pupils to purchase school items such as mattresses, uniforms and books strictly from selected suppliers or their schools. It has come to the attention of the Commission that some boarding schools are directing parents and guardians to purchase mattresses for their school going children from selected mattress suppliers. In this regard, it is clear that schools engaged in this conduct are placing pressure on consumers (parents and guardians) to buy these mattresses only from the school’s preferred suppliers,” Kasumpa stated.
She advised schools to only provide a general standard of the required school items without dictating where parents should buy them from.
“What schools should only provide is a general standard of the school items required without selecting where the parents/guardians should purchase from. This conduct is anti-competitive as it distorts the competition landscape among the players in the provision of such items and is detrimental to consumers as it deprives them of choices. The Commission therefore reiterates the fact that parents and guardians should be allowed to purchase school items such as mattress, uniforms and books etc from any source of their preference and should not be directed or forced to purchase items from a single source as long as such items are fit for purpose,” advised Kasumpa.
“This therefore serves as a timely warning to all schools that are involved in this practice that the Commission will not hesitate to impose appropriate penalties on any person who violates the provisions of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act No.24 of 2010.”