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Council Warns on Price Hikes By Some Shops

Council Warns on Price Hikes By Some Shops
Consumer Council of Fiji,CEO Premila Kumar. Photo: Vilimoni Vaganalau.
March 09
14:09 2016

The Consumer Council has received shocking information on the extent of overcharging which customers are facing on basic food items after Tropical Cyclone Winston.

Consumer Council chief executive officer Premila Kumar said the overnight price hike has been noted around the affected areas.

“As the country is trying to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of TC Winston, some traders/retailers are taking advantage of the situation by raising the price of some goods, particularly basic food items.

“Some consumers had contacted our offices from as far as Levuka, Taveuni, Savusavu, Nadi, Ba and Tailevu, over what they describe as an ‘overnight price hike’ on basic food items such as rice, flour, oil, tin fish, biscuits, sugar, toilet paper, toothpaste, soap and items such as candles, batteries and torch, in their areas.”

In recent days, the Council’s market surveillance shows:

l               One popular chain supermarket in Labasa Town was seen retailing tin fish (a pack of 3,  Angel Gold Mackerel) at $11.25  where as its retail price is $10.95

l               In Nadi, they  received a complaint against a prominent supermarket selling bottle water at the following pries:

Aqua Pacific 1.5lx6bttle was $8.38 and now it is selling at $9.95

Island Chill same quality was $8.48 and now it is $9.95

Island Chill 1.5l per bottle was $1.50 and now it is $1.70

l               In Rakiraki,   a prominent businessman is charging triple the price  for  groceries (chicken, lamb and other groceries). However, the consumer had failed to provide the Council receipts

l               In the Central Division, consumers are still experiencing a shortage of garlic, potatoes, flour, oil, salt, breakfast crackers and sugar. Some of these items are due to delays in restocking and other items such as potatoes and garlic.

“The Council also noticed that vendors selling fruits/vegetables from their own garden on the roadside in the Central Division have also hiked up the price.

“It is also seen that prices of local fruits/vegetables in Navua and Sigatoka also increased although  impact of the cyclone was minimal,” Ms Kumar said.


Advice to shoppers

“If consumers suspect overpricing, then they must ask the trader to explain price increases that seem excessive or unreasonable. If you are not satisfied with the trader’s response, you can lodge a complaint with the Council or Fiji Commerce Commission. When lodging a complaint, provide as much information as possible including:

l               the trader’s name and location

l               a description of the goods and the price

l               copies of any receipts

Edited by Jonathan Bryce


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