Consumers cry foul as shop owners reject swipe cards, Ecocash

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

SOME retails shops and liquor outlets in Bulawayo are refusing to accept electronic cards and Eco-Cash payments, insisting on bond notes and foreign currency.

This practice has left many consumers especially public servants who are paid through RTGS in a serious quandary.

To camouflage this illegal act, the retailers often lie to clients that their swipe machines were not functioning due to network challenges. Only a few major retail outlets such as OK and TM are accepting the electronic payments.

“I am a civil servant and I am only paid through RTGS. Now, the major challenge is that shops and beer outlets especially those in the high-density suburbs where I stay are refusing to accept electronic cards and Eco-Cash.

“They only accept foreign currency or bond notes.

“Honestly, where do they expect us to get the bond notes and foreign currency when we are paid in Zimbabwe dollars?” said a civil servant who identified himself as Luckson Moyo.

Some retailers especially sole traders have changed all their pricing to US dollars and South African rands, making it impossible to buy anything from them.

Said another disgruntled consumer, “A bottle store in my area sells all its products in foreign currency yet the owner buys the products from local suppliers using the local currency.

“This is unfair and this profiteering should be investigated by relevant authorities.”

Another consumer, Richard Sengweni also complained about the illicit practice.

“Following the introduction of the Foreign Currency auction system, prices of commodities had relatively stabilised, but these unscrupulous people are sabotaging the economy. They must be arrested,” said Sengweni.

A bottle store owner along Robert Mugabe who refused to be named however defended the charging of Foreign Currency claiming that their major supplier Delta did not allow them to buy certain products using RTGs.

“There are some products like green quarts which we buy from Delta strictly on foreign currency basis. So you cannot expect me to sell that same product using Eco-Cash or Swipe. If I do that, I will not be able to re-stock,” said the businessman.