New law seeks to punish misleading online advertising and inaccurate mileages on vehicles

A new law that is up for debate in parliament, if passed, will seek to punish online retailers that provide inaccurate information regarding items being sold such as false mileage declaration in a bid to protect consumers from dishonest business practices. The new law is sponsored by leader of majority in the Kenyan national assembly Mr. Amos Kimunya.

It will be the first time to attempt changing a law that has been in effect since late 70’s. New recommendations will safeguard Kenyans from purchasing counterfeit products while upholding rights of registered owners of trade marks. Kenya is currently experiencing an upsurge in online shopping, partly due to the current pandemic, and some sellers have taken the opportunity to swindle unsuspecting consumers by selling them low quality products than initially stated.

A good example is car dealers who often declare false mileage information regarding the number of kilometers travelled who now faces prosecution is the proposed amendments are adopted by the national assembly. They’ll be facing a maximum fine of Ksh. 2 million or a five-year jail term or both from the current proposals.

Notably, car mileage has been absent in current laws despite Kenya experiencing an upsurge in motor vehicle sales compared to when the law was first enacted. Dealers have been accused on numerous occasions for altering odometers to downplay usage and depreciation.

At the moment, Kenya records more than 80 percent of used car importation and mileage has been the basis of determining their resale value apart from the year of manufacturer.  Consequently, government officials will now compare the declared mileage against source markets to determine whether the odometer had been compromised.

Kenya has seen more businesses resort to online advertising partly due to the increased access to the internet. Shoppers in the country can now easily buy something from another country online and wait a few days for it to arrive. Unfortunately, online platforms have also posed their own loopholes that often leave consumers exposed to malpractices.

According to the new bill, various unethical business practices have been grouped and are now covered under the proposed law, such as false trade description, false indications as to price and false representation as to the supply of goods or service.


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