Rock Hard hits back at Arawak’s claims
The battle for control of the cement market is intensifying with Rock Hard Cement standing firm on the quality of its product and taking credit for reduced cement prices in Barbados, in the face of allegations that it was misleading consumers.
In a paid advertisement over the weekend, its rival Arawak Cement Company Limited advised consumers in Barbados, Guyana and the Eastern Caribbean that two shipments of cement had been imported into the island, claiming to be of a superior standard, consistency and quality than the Arawak cement made here and sold in those territories.
The St Lucy-based company did not mention Rock Hard Cement, but since the Barbadian business entered the market last November, ending Arawak’s monopoly, it has claimed that it was offering a less costly, yet superior and more consistent product.
The Arawak advertisement stated that, “acting in the interest” of stakeholders, the company had collected samples and sent them for independent international testing. The results, it said, were that the other cement was “not of a higher quality, or strength and is not a superior product to Arawak Cement”.
The cement producer said it had lodged a formal complaint with the Fair Trading Commission “regarding the supplier’s media advertising and product logo that also make these false claims and misleading comparisons with Arawak Cement”.
It contended that the newcomer’s claims of superiority and consistency in various advertisements could not be substantiated and therefore were in breach of the Consumer Protection Act.
But Rock Hard Cement’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Maloney would not back down.
“Arawak has tried everything to stop us from entering the market and from selling our quality cement,” Maloney told Barbados TODAY.
“Our product is the highest quality at the price that it should have been at for the past 25 years and we will continue to supply the market that we operate in with the best quality cement at the price it should be sold at and will continue to build relationships with our customers through trust, consistency and reliability. It is a shame that competition has made them seek to discredit a credible business and that they are against competition and a free market,” the Rock Hard Cement boss added.
In its advertisement, Arawak also attributed the 30 per cent drop in the price of its cement between November last year and June this year to its “ongoing restructuring programme and improved plant efficiencies”.
Maloney insisted, however, that Rock Hard was the reason consumers in Barbados were able to buy the product at “half the price they could before we entered the market”.
Two months ago, Maloney claimed that Arawak Cement Limited’s parent company, TCL Group, was employing unfair tactics. He said at the time the competitor was attempting to register the Rock Hard name in overseas markets in an attempt to prevent the Barbadian company from entering those markets.
However, he told Barbados TODAY, he had managed to “block” that attempt.