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Consumers Warned To Avoid Buying Flood Damaged Goods

Consumers Warned To Avoid Buying Flood Damaged Goods
National Fire Authority fireman cleaning Rakiraki town after the recent flooding. Photos: Supplied
January 19
11:00 2018

With the recent flooding that affected some parts of the Western Division, the Consumer Council of Fiji is urging consumers to be vigilant when buying goods from the affected areas.

Some unscrupulous traders will be taking advantage of vulnerable consumers by selling goods that have been damaged due to flooding and power outages.

Traders tend to immediately have a sale on products, especially, electrical items following a flood. Consumers, however, need to remember that some electrical products fail to function properly after they have been affected by flood waters.

Traders must ensure that consumers are advised appropriately about the products prior to selling the damaged products.

The Council also strongly urges traders in these affected areas to be ethical and responsible by destroying all food items and meat that have been affected by flood waters or power cuts.

The salvaged items should not be put on sale to consumers. Instead, it should be properly disposed to prevent any harm to consumers’ health and safety.

Public health safety is important and traders/retailers must take the lead role in disposing off affected food and meat products. They need to ensure that such items are out of reach of scavengers or those who may want to take advantage of the situation.

Traders who attempt to profit from the misery of others during these times will not be tolerated.

In addition, the Council is requesting consumers to report any incidents of thawed or rotten food, meat, dairy or other products, to the Council and Fiji Competition and Consumer Commission or the Ministry of Health Food and Safety Unit.

The Council is calling on the Municipal Councils in these affected areas to step up surveillance in their respective areas and by joining forces with Ministry of Health and Medical Services to keep a tab on the sale of bad and rotten food items.


FEA charges reconnection fee despite meter not disconnected

The Consumer Council of Fiji is urging consumers to be vigilant and check their monthly electricity bills to ensure they are not charged unnecessary fees.

The call comes after the Council received a complaint where a consumer was issued a bill late last year which included a charge of $9.50 as a reconnection fee.

The consumer’s FEA meter, however, was not disconnected at any time as all the payments were made on time.

After the Council’s intervention, FEA admitted the error and reversed the reconnection fee charged to the consumer by deducting the amount from her next bill.

Despite the matter being resolved, the Council is concerned that this is not the first time such an incident has occurred.

We had previously received complaints of exact nature whereby consumers were charged reconnection fees despite their meters not being disconnected. Since 2015, 5 similar cases was received by the Council.

Some consumers may have been paying Fiji Electricity Authority reconnection fees unknowingly, despite their FEA meter not being disconnected.

This is a concern to the Council, expressing grave disappointment in FEA for the inaccuracy.   Consumers are advised to check their bills to ensure no excess fees are being charged. Just like receipts, it is important for consumers to check and verify what they are paying for.   Consumers are advised to call the Council’s National Consumer Helpline toll free number 155 to lodge their complaints if they have encountered the above.

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