CONSUMERIZIM is an independent, nonprofit initiative that works alongside consumers for fairness and transparency in the Zimbabwean marketplace. Using research, investigative journalism, and consumer advocacy, we work with other organisations – including the media – to inform purchase decisions and improve the products and services that businesses deliver.
Our main objectives are to promote consumer rights in Zimbabwe by advocating for the basic needs of consumers, better access to services, and better quality products. Our core belief at CONSUMERIZIM is that all people have a right to access safe goods and quality services, to be treated fairly and offered effective solutions if things go wrong.
The UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1985. These were brought up to date in 2015, when the General Assembly adopted the revised UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection. These guidelines are an important tool, giving added legitimacy to the principles of consumer rights and practical support and guidance for the development of consumer protection around the world. The guidelines contain a number of consumer needs that broadly reflect the rights of the consumer.
US President John F. Kennedy first outlined a vision of consumer rights in a special message to Congress on 15 March 1962 (now celebrated as World Consumer Rights Day). Over time, the global consumer movement developed this into a broader vision of our rights and needs as consumers that now guides much of our work:
The right to satisfaction of basic needs – To have access to basic, essential goods and services: adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, education, public utilities, water and sanitation.
The right to safety – To be protected against products, production processes and services that are hazardous to health or life.
The right to be informed – To be given the facts needed to make an informed choice, and to be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising and labelling.
The right to choose – To be able to select from a range of products and services, offered at competitive prices with an assurance of satisfactory quality.
The right to be heard – To have consumer interests represented in the making and execution of government policy, and in the development of products and services.
The right to redress – To receive a fair settlement of just claims, including compensation for misrepresentation, shoddy goods or unsatisfactory services.
The right to consumer education – To acquire knowledge and skills needed to make informed, confident choices about goods and services, while being aware of basic consumer rights and responsibilities and how to act on them.
The right to a healthy environment -To live and work in an environment that is non-threatening to the well-being of present and future generations.
Who we are
CONSUMERIZIM was founded in 2012 by Joe Ruzvidzo, an ordinary citizen fed up with shoddy service. He wanted to create a space where the voice of the customer is heard, not just in a Call Center echo chamber but out here, out loud, where everyone can judge a company’s services not just on their advertising, but on the results.
This space wasn’t created just to moan about bad service, but also to glorify those businesses that don’t do only what they’re MEANT to do, but more. Those lowly workers in otherwise ordinary companies who go out of their way to help the public.
The goal is not to vilify, but to enable those companies with either service or perception problems to try and bring themselves to account; to demonstrate to the paying public that it’s not just about the bottom line – it’s about the front line. It’s how consumers are treated, from the reception desk or automated switchboard, all the way through to the upper echelons of corporate management.
We have long wanted a voice, and although the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe has been available (although largely silent in the past few years), it will take a grassroots movement of disaffected consumers to create a shift in the culture of Zimbabwe.
Tell us your stories, and we’ll see if together we can’t make a difference.
– Joe and the COMSUMERIZIM team.