Assessing consumer protection performance from a third-party perspective

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More than 80 companies and investors have now made a Commitment to or Endorsement of GOGLA’s Consumer Protection Code, which seeks to safeguard consumers of off-grid solar from risks, particularly within the PAYGo model. Since the inception of the Consumer Protection Code, great strides have been made across the industry in ensuring that consumers receive high standards across products and services from their off-grid solar provider.

To strengthen the implementation of the Consumer Protection Code, GOGLA and MFR have been working to expand the consumer protection assessment framework to include a third-party assessment option. Companies and their investors can now take consumer protection practices to the next level with the newly launched Third-Party Assessment.

The third-party assessment focuses on continuous improvement

Using experience and learnings from other sectors (e.g., MFI and mobile money), we have developed a methodology and evidence-based framework that allows for an objectively robust assessment of consumer protection practices, whilst retaining the flexibility to adapt to the differing products, business models, and country contexts within the off-grid solar sector.

In the latter part of 2021, MFR piloted the third-party assessment with three companies in Kenya and used the learnings from these to refine the process and framework, and launch the service that’s available to companies and investors today. The off-grid solar sector is still relatively young, so rather than giving companies a rating or certification, the focus of the assessment is on continuous improvement. A significant part of the process is dedicated to company briefing and feedback sessions, the development of a recommendations report, and support in building a forward-looking action plan.

Interested? Here’s what you need to know

To undertake a third-party assessment, companies should have made a commitment to the Consumer Protection Code with an up-to-date self-assessment, at least three years of operational activity, and their primary business model being sales of off-grid solar products and PUE appliances either through cash or PAYGo contracts.

End-to-end, the assessment takes about 2-3 months, including a period of desk review and preparation, an on-site visit, and report development. After completing the assessment, companies will be publicly recognised on GOGLA’s Consumer Protection Hub, showing that they are committed to good practices and demonstrating leadership and excellence in the field.

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