Competition watchdog to probe online food delivery apps
The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) is set to probe online food delivery and groceries platforms to address consumer complaints including undelivered orders, bad food, misrepresentation of items, and breach of customer data among other concerns.
This comes at a time the online food delivery market is rapidly growing in Kenya driven by an increasing population, greater internet access, and a shift in consumer preference as more customers seek the convenience of home food delivery.
Some of the major players in the local market include Glovo, Jumia, KFC, Uber Eats, Chicken Inn, java House, Big Square, and supermarket chains such as Naivas, Carrefour, and Quickmart.
Demand for online food deliveries – as well as delivery of other items such as clothing, electronics, beauty, and hygiene products among others – accelerated following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 led to lockdowns that restricted movement.
“The market inquiry will seek to uncover how food delivery and groceries platforms work in practice and suggest regulatory and policy options for competition and consumer protection enforcement,” said CAK acting Director-General Adano Wario in a Gazette Notice.
Mr Wario said the study will seek to identify the players and services involved in the food delivery and groceries platforms business model in Kenya and examine the relationships between the platforms and the users with a focus on the competition parameters and concerns amongst the players.
“The inquiry will more specifically seek to assess the role of data in operating multi-sided online platforms, customer acquisition, retention as well as data portability, e-payment services and their importance concerning the food delivery and groceries platforms business model,” he said.
Further, the study will serve to enable the watchdog better understand consumer protection concerns to provide redress mechanisms available for consumers when shopping through online marketplaces.
Mr Wario added that the study will help the agency to better assess the relevance of the existing regulatory framework and its applicability in the digital markets, to guide better policymaking.
Despite the advantages that have been offered by online shopping, concerns have however been raised over fraud where shoppers have been duped by fraudsters into paying for non-existent or low quality goods.
Customers have also raised concern over some online shopping firms that fail to refund their money when they deliver the wrong or substandard product even as some of the firms have been accused of making false representations of their goods to dupe shoppers.