Roofing scandal of every company calling itself ‘mabati’ and exploiting consumers

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Cofek continues to be inundated by many complaints on increasing fakes and substandard quality products. From roofing sheets, cement, electrical cables, mattresses, steel metals, alcoholic beverages among others. It is for this reason, we have started #ProtectGenuineProducts campaign. You can use

Consumers are losing a lot of money in the process. They end up with bad products which neither serves the purpose nor offers value for money. On other hand, manufacturers of genuine products made in Kenya are hardly selling and or being forced to compromise their own quality. We urge consumers and media to remain vigilant. We urge respective regulatory bodies to act tough and swiftly on such offenders. Consumers must boycott such bad products.

  • The number of firms supposedly manufacturing roofing iron sheets have grown tremendously over the last 5 years.

    Many of these companies are briefcase ones. Some do not even rent a godown. They brand themselves well and would easily pass for genuine firms with decent corporate images.

    They hardly pay the requisite taxes. They exploit the high demand for roofing materials and often capitalize on irresistible lower price offering. Majority pledge ‘free delivery’.

    A closer look, however, is that their sizes are often less. Their quality perhaps the very worst. They deceive unsuspecting buyers from the fresh coats of paints and inviting designs whose patents they do not own.

    They do not manufacture anything. They import nearly 100 percent ready. They would mostly cut and or re-paint the same.

    Such companies engage in aggressive online and mainstream advertising. Many of them use iron sheet design patterns find online.

    They equally have good ‘customer-care’ teams and only turn into nightmares after receiving cash from their victims.

    The quality of their roofing materials are weak, change colour too soon and often the design patterns and actual colours are not exactly what they advertise on websites, social media and or mainstream media.

    The fraudulent mabati sellers take their customers’ money and delay or never deliver materials at all.

    Because majority do not pay requisite taxes and mostly employ casual staff, they often afford to hoodwink consumers with what appears to be high quality materials for much less.

    The fascination by majority consumers with low prices against poor quality eventually hits unsuspecting ones with need for either replacements and or repairs, sooner than later.

    Substandard mabati may easily change color, are lighter, fade, and even corrode leading to leaks within a short span of time. 

    Genuine roof mabati bear a hard layer that protects the roof components from the elements such as sun and wind. Their vibrant colors of are protected against ultraviolet rays which translate to minimal and or no colour changes.

    What is unknown to many consumers is that often fraudulent mabati sellers often spray their products with fresh and appealing paint and other sandy coatings to cover for their fake state.

    Substandard quality mabati experience faster corrosion manifested by rust, nosiy rainfall and eventual leakages.

    To avoid rust and eventual leaks, genuine products are galvanized to ensure they hardly rust even when exposed to adverse conditions.

    A good quality metal roofing ought to serve a buyer for an average 40 years. On the contrary, fake ones start peeling, fading, corroding and or leaking in under 5 years.

    To address this vicious exploitation, urgent interventions on mabati requires that;

    Firstly, government, through the Ministry of Trade and Industrialization regulates the use of the word mabati so as to require them to meet a stated threshold in terms of quality.

    Importers of ready-made mabati who disguise themselves as local manufacturers must be stopped from registering a company by the same name and or posing as genuine manufacturers.

    Secondly, the government ought to consider amending the Scrap Metal Council Act to provide for the Council a regulator and enforcement agency on the quality, registration of mabati business and related matters

    Thirdly, it will be in the interest of consumers intending to construct houses to  engage experts before buying mabati. The major consideration ought to be about the lowest convergence point between quality and pricing.

    Fourth, because of the apparent loopholes in flooding the country with cheap and bad quality iron sheets, government ought to enhance taxation on imported ready-made mabati so as to protect the local industry and consumers.

    Fifth, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) must do more on market surveillance and act tougher in resolving consumer complaints

    On its’ part, the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) needs to work with other relevant agencies to ensure stem undercutting of prices and require that con and brief companies do not easily access mainstream media adverts to hoodwink millions of unsuspecting members of the public.

    Again, and in line with Article 46 of the constitution, government must provide consumer and civic education around protecting genuine products and buying mabati. This can be done as public service announcements. Both the government spokesperson and the ombudsman have a duty to offer such reliefs.

    Kenya cannot continue to grow the foreign economies on bad quality roofing materials. It’s time to halt the rot and rein in the cartels that continue to visit havoc both on the economy and wellbeing of consumers.

    It must be made expensive for people to engage in substandard, counterfeit and even illicit trade. Destruction of condemned goods, at the cost of the manufacturer and or importer, must be done swiftly in order that it serves as a deterrence.

    More scrutiny should be laid on lifestyle audits around regulatory inspectors. In order to win this war, inspectors must remain men and women of integrity.

    The war against substandard and counterfeit goods will not succeed in an environment where corruption thrives. (Report non-genuine products – )

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