On 16th February, 2023, the Commission commenced investigations against AMPEX Courier Service on allegations of excluding liability for defective goods and unconscionable conduct.

The Complainant alleged that he engaged AMPEX Courier services to transport his parcel from Lilongwe to Karonga. The parcel contained 2 Granite stones, whose total value was MK500,000.00; and the Complainant was charged MK67, 000.00. The Complainant claims that, upon reaching Karonga it was discovered that one of the Granite stones was broken, thus rendering it not suitable for purpose.

However, the Respondent told him that they would not refund him nor provide any remedial measures on the basis that their terms and conditions make it clear that sending the parcels is at owner’s risk. This came as a surprise to the Complainant considering that the Respondent was denying liability on the delivery of the service that he had paid for. Furthermore, the Complainant submitted that he enquired with the Respondent if they do transport delicate and fragile items, and was assured that they transport such items.

Based on investigations, the Commission found that the exclusionary clause appeared unfair and unreasonable considering that the parcels are handed over to the courier which takes full custody of the product.

However, it was noted that the CFTA does not provide protection for defective services, but defective goods and therefore did not find the Respondent liable for excluding liability for defective service. However, the Committee had issues with the way the Respondent handled the Complainant’s claim. The Respondent did not offer the Respondent an adequate remedy. The stone was substantially damaged and could not be used for the intended purpose.  

Following deliberations, the Commission found out that there was no conclusive evidence that the conduct by the Respondent amounted to excluding liability for defective goods, however, the Commission found that the conduct of the Respondent amounted to unconscionable conduct.

It was therefore resolved as follows:

  • That the Respondent should refund the Complainant the amount of Two Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand Five Hundred Malawi Kwacha (MK283,500.00); which comprises of MK250,000.00 in price of the granite stone, and MK33,500.00 in transportation cost.
  • That the Respondent should pay a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Malawi Kwacha (MK500,000.00) for engaging in unconscionable conduct in the trade of goods or services.