Pakistan Competition Commission takes battery firms to task

Pakistan’s competition commission issued show cause notices on September 28 to six domestic battery manufacturers for “misleading consumers and engaging in deceptive marketing practices” in violation of section 10 of the country’s 2010 Competition Act.

Show cause notices are orders that require a party to explain in court why action should not be taken against it.

The companies — Atlas Battery, Treet Corporation, Exide Pakistan, Pakistan Accumulators, Millat Industrial Products and Century Engineering — have been accused of failing to print product capacity of their batteries on the body, packaging and warranty cards.

This means consumers cannot compare like for like, the Pakistan daily financial newspaper, the Business Recorder, reported on September 29.

In April, the details of the complaints were laid out by the Competition Commission of Pakistan in its enquiry report.

“When a consumer demands a battery of certain ampere capacity, the local batteries do not have their respective capacities printed on them,” said the enquiry report. “In the case of some batteries, the capacity is mentioned on its packaging and not on its body, whereas in the case of other batteries, capacity is neither printed on the packaging nor on the body.

“Furthermore, these batteries may also be recycled. In this case, the batteries are not sold in their respective original packaging and therefore, the battery is sold directly to consumers … The consumer is unaware of the capacity of battery it is acquiring, increasing the likelihood of consumer deception.

“The omission of this information may not only result in the purchase of the incorrect battery, but the consumers may also be deceived into buying a battery that may not be suitable as per their requirement.

“Moreover, the consumers may also be charged higher for a lower capacity battery.”

Ijaz Majeed, chief executive at Millat Batteries, told BESB that no decision had yet been made by the Competition Commission.

“The commission has asked for an explanation from almost all the battery manufacturers in Pakistan to clarify why battery capacities are not mentioned on the batteries.

“None of the battery manufacturers in the country mention the capacity on their products, only the battery manufacturer’s model is mentioned.

Millat produces three series of batteries: M type for automotive, U type for heavy-duty automotive and UPS and D type for deep-cycle use (solar). On M and U series only model types are mentioned and on D type capacity is also mentioned. The capacities of M, U and D types can be traced from our website and company brochures.”

The report says batteries bought in error can affect the battery life itself, which means consumers are forced to buy batteries more often than required, and sometimes the items in which the incorrect batteries are placed could be damaged.

“Additionally, the lack of such material information and due to the ambiguity of battery capacity, getting warranty claims also becomes a major hassle,” says the report.