Upon crossing the heart of Malawi’s cities, it is quite notable that there is a boom in Gadget sales in the black market, especially laptops and phones. As these much needed items are found at a low price than shops would charge, customers forget that must buy at their own risk.
“It may hurt to pay more than K150, 000 for either a cell phone or a laptop in a shop, but customers must know that it’s not about the price” says Mwai Bamusi, owner of an electrical accessories shop, “Any non-receipted item cannot be returned back to the seller because of faults; a shop like mine will always listen to complaints like that, while black markets will never serve customers like that.”
True enough, numerous customers have cried foul over dealing with the black market, on the matter of returning faulty gadgets. Even worse, black markets knowingly and unknowingly sell stolen goods. Police officer Harry Baluwa elaborated more on the matter; “Countless times, we have been approached on cases concerning purchasing stolen goods; the problem is people still don’t know that the buyer of the goods can be answerable to crime also”
Being objective, one may understand that a customer cannot buy what is beyond their budget, but when black market consequences are weighed, it is agreeable that the risk is not worth it. Baluwa advised gadget enthusiasts to save up for the gadgets they want and buy them in shops, adding that even if that takes a long time, gadgets are always updating and evolving.
“The police is here to help black market victims” she says, “but the hassle isn’t worth it because in some cases, by the time the stolen and sold items were traced, they had lost quality to reuse or sell.”