The Lagos State Government has issued a stern warning to filling station managers, cautioning them against levying additional fees on transactions made through Point of Sale (PoS) machines. The directive, which was released on Friday by Mr. Afolabi Solebo, the General Manager of the Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency (LASCOPA), stresses that any business owner found engaging in such practices will face appropriate consequences.
According to Mr. Solebo, imposing extra charges on customers for using PoS machines is a violation of the Consumer Rights Law. He emphasized that strict actions will be taken against fuel attendants and business owners who continue to exploit consumers with these unfair charges. The warning comes in response to numerous complaints lodged by consumers about illegal levies imposed by some businesses, particularly filling stations.
Of particular concern to the Lagos Consumer Protection Agency is the recurring occurrence where consumers are being subjected to additional costs when making payments through PoS machines for purchasing Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) at some filling stations in Lagos State, as well as certain Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Mr. Solebo asserted that these charges not only infringe upon consumer rights but also constitute unfair trade practices. He stated, “The agency is concerned with the rising consumer feedback by motorists and consumers of PMS product particularly. We will continue to monitor this sensitive and evolving situation and remain committed to the protection of consumers in Lagos State.”
In light of the situation, the General Manager urged motorists and consumers to promptly report any filling station or operator that violates their rights to the agency or visit the nearest LASCOPA annexe offices. He assured the public that any reported violator would be subject to appropriate action.
On a related note, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) recently addressed the issue of PoS prices. While the FCCPC clarified that individual PoS operators are free to determine their prices to achieve profitability, they expressed concern about the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria (AMMBAN) attempting to fix prices for its members.
Mr. Babatunde Irukera, the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, emphasized that the FCCPC will not tolerate any cartel-like behavior that fixes prices among PoS businesses. However, the Commission aims to use advocacy and business education to promote compliance with the law, especially considering that AMMBAN’s membership largely comprises small businesses that provide employment opportunities for vulnerable citizens.
Mr. Irukera affirmed, “This is a prudential, not weak or helpless approach to ensuring compliance, and it underscores the Commission’s proportionality approach to its consequence management system and interpretation of the law.” The FCCPC will not hesitate to impose penalties when necessary to uphold consumer rights and fair trade practices in the PoS industry.