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Jumia cornered in COMESA region over platform terms

By , Africa editor
Africa , 28 Feb 2023

Jumia Group has been ordered to revamp its terms and conditions by Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Competition Commission, and will now be liable for the safety and quality of products sold on its platform by third-party merchants.

This, after a 16 months probe into the e-commerce giant’s conduct by the anti-trust authorities, which concluded Jumia’s current terms and conditions “appeared to amount to false and misleading representation”.

COMESA Competition Commission launched investigations into the conduct of Jumia Group, on 10 September 2021, following a review of its platforms in different countries along with its terms and conditions, to determine if they were in compliance with the COMESA Competition regulations.

The Commission revealed details its investigation last week, saying it engaged Jumia on the matter “regarding incompatibility of their terms and conditions with the regulations” and required them to make necessary amendments.

Jumia is a Pan-African technology company connects sellers with consumers; and is built around a marketplace, logistics service and payment service.

Dubbed the African Amazon, the company has presence in 23 countries, including footprint in COMESA region, and has a network of over half a million sellers on its platforms.

Given the magnitude of its operations, the COMESA Competition Commission says, Jumia’s conduct “could have an appreciable effect on trade in the region”, consequently the company has to review its terms and conditions.

The Commission recommended an extensive list of changes that Amazon of Africa needs to implement.

These include, having a transparent dispute resolution process that is known to consumers and users of the website.

Jumia must in its terms and conditions highlight the entity to be served for legal purposes with its full details including the name, location, post office address, telephone and email contact.

“Jumia guarantees the authenticity of such information, to the extent that where the seller cannot be traced in the case of a dispute, Jumia shall be liable as there is legitimate expectation by consumers that Jumia should have adequate terms and conditions for engaging the sellers” says the Commission.

Also, it says Jumia’s terms and conditions be amended to “reflect that where Jumia is the seller, they are a party to the contract of sale and therefore liable if the product is not fit for the purpose”.

“In cases where products are sold by a third-party seller, Jumia should provide access to the contract of sale between a named and clearly identified seller on the platform to enable the buyer to review and accept terms before purchase. Jumia also to ensure that, to the extent possible, the information posted on the platform is accurate”.

In conclusion, the COMESA Competition Commission says, Jumia was cooperative and in compliance with its recommendations, reviewed it’s the terms and conditions to the commission’s satisfaction.

“Subsequently the matter was closed. Further, the Commission commends Jumia for its cooperation and being a responsible corporate citizen in terms of amending its terms and conditions in the interest of the consumer”.

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