Nigerians have lampooned Wakanow, one of the players in Nigeria’s travel booking industry for engaging in unethical business practices. Specifically, the company has been accused of fraudulently encroaching into the digital business space of Konga Travel; another major player in the industry.
Indeed, the issue highlighted arose from the complaints of a number of customers who had tried to book flights on Konga Travel.
Wakanow had deployed an online ad that clearly has Konga Travel stated but which, when clicked, re-directs to the Wakanow website. The ad which had succeeded in luring unsuspecting customers of Konga Travel to the Wakanow website has drawn the ire of a number of Nigerians; many of whom have urged Konga Travel to sue Wakanow for the deception.
‘‘I have been a customer of Konga Travel since inception,’’ said Mr. Zubby Azubuike. ‘‘I have also followed the current Rolls Royce promo that Konga Travel is running. Usually, I walk into a Konga Travel store when I want to book my flight. But this time, I decided to book online as I wanted to win as well. When I typed Konga Travel, the first link I saw took me to Wakanow. That is a fraud. I know Wakanow has been struggling in recent times but I am surprised that they can descend so low unethically and that such a well-known company can go to such lengths in infringing on the goodwill of another company.’’
Another customer of Konga Travel, Haruna Mojeed, a businessman, faulted the actions of Wakanow and defined it as an act of desperation which is not expected from the Obinna Ekezie-led company which was reputed for decency.
‘‘What has changed in Wakanow in recent times,’’ he queried. ‘‘I am disappointed to see this. This kind of unethical business practice should be seriously punished. Nigeria is not a jungle. Why present your business as if it had a connection to that of another when that is not the case? I urge Konga Travel to take action on this.’’
In fact, investigations by this medium confirm the development.
A cursory Google search of the name – Konga Travel – brings up a number of search results. However, the first one reads as follows: Konga Travel | Wakanow has the best deals | wakanow.com
A Business Law attorney, Ibe Okafor, described this as a clear case of passing off. Further, he has urged Konga Travel to take Wakanow to court for the deception and demand hefty damages.
As a matter of fact, the law of passing off prevents one trader from misrepresenting goods or services as being the goods and services of another and also prevents a trader from holding out his or her goods or services as having some association or connection with another when this is not true.
‘‘This is an open and shut case of passing off,’’ Okafor stated. ‘’The offense of passing off is both common law and statutory remedy in Nigeria as it is statutorily supported by Section 3 of the Trademarks Act. Konga Travel should institute a suit immediately and demand huge damages against Wakanow,’’ he advised.