Court Clears VIP Express Tourism Dispute with CPC, Customers

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The long dispute between VIP Express Tourism and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), over an alleged misconduct and wrongful dealings by VIP Express towards its customers has been resolved. A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja delivering its Judgement on April 10, 2018 in suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/55/2017, VIP Express Tourism Limited v. Consumer Protection Council and Anor, held that the tourism firm has not been involved in any wrongdoing or unscrupulous activity in its relationship with customers as alleged, and consequently quashed the decision and recommendations made by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC).

Recall that in September 2015, CPC began investigation into the operations of VIP Express Tourism following complaints, alleging gross abuse of consumer’s rights. In December 2016, whilst there was a pending suit in court, the CPC released an Order for VIP Express Tourism to refund N25 million to some aggrieved clients who could no longer meet their contractual obligations towards the tourism firm.

But putting the matter to rest, the Federal High Court, ruled that the CPC had no power to determine the rights, legality, propriety or otherwise of any contract between VIP Express Tourism Ltd and its clients. The court also held that CPC does not hold the power to alter or invalidate the terms of a validly executed and subsisting contract entered into between two parties. It further ruled that the demands, decisions and recommendations made by the CPC were illegal and ultra vires.

Reacting, VIP Express Tourism Ltd, said the ruling was a case of “no victor no vanquished”, as company holds the CPC in high regard for protecting consumer rights, and had, therefore diligently honoured all invitations and requests made by the commission.

Speaking to the media after the judgement, the General Manager of the Company, Samuel Owoseni, said that the essence of contesting the decision of CPC was just to strengthen the rule of law and to put its business records right.
He said: “For us at VIP Express, the reason for contesting the decision of CPC in court was to strengthen the rule of law and also put the records straight about our business and activities.