BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI, 16TH MARCH 2020-The competition Authority of Kenya has ordered Cleanshelf Supermarkets to refund customers of their cash after it emerged that the retailer hiked the price of hand sanitizers on Sunday in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in Kenya.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Competition Authority of Kenya said it had established that the price of Tropical brand hand sanitizers, which retails at Ksh.800, was increased to amounts as high as Ksh.1000.
“Cleanshelf Supermarkets normally retails the specific hand sanitizers at Ksh.800. However, the authority has determined that the retailer on March 15, 2020 sold the same batch product to consumers at varying amounts above Ksh.800, including Ksh.1,000, with the prices increasing within hours,” said the authority in a statement.
The Competition Authority of Kenya termed the move as exploitation of customers, demanding that Cleanshelf contacts all customers who purchased the product and refund them within the next 10 days.
“The retailer therefore exploited its relative strength as a retailer to commercially detriment consumers whose bargaining position has been diminished following the pronouncement of existence COVID-19 in Kenya.
“The Authority has therefore ordered Cleanshelf to contact and refund all the customers who purchased the 960 pieces of the Tropical brand hand sanizers above the usual selling price and submit evidence to support the same by March 26, 2020,”adds the statement.
On its part, Cleanshelf termed the incident as an “individual error” blaming it on one of its staff members, adding that disciplinary action would be taken on the said individual.
“It has come to our attention that one of our staff members without consultation and irresponsibly severally adjusted the price of Tropical Hand Sanizers in our Ruaraka Branch,” said Cleanshelf in a statement.
“This was an individual error, and the management of cleanshelf wholly and unreservedly apologizes to all our customers.”
The supermarket management has since asked all customers who were overcharged for the product to go back to the branch to be refunded their cash.