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Complaints Point To Price Gouging Under Homes–Care Initiative

Complaints Point To Price Gouging Under Homes–Care Initiative
From left, Social Democratic Liberal Party Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka with Tui Vuda Ratu Kitione Tavaiqia cut a ribbon to officially open the Global Girmit Institute in Saweni, Lautoka on May 14, 2018. Photo: Arieta Vakasukawaqa
May 16
10:00 2018

Consumers urged to call helpline 155 to lodge similar concerns.

The Consumer Council of Fiji is concerned that traders are engaged in price gouging to take advantage of Fijians receiving assistance under the Government’s Homes-CARE initiative.

Three complaints have been lodged with the council through its Consumer Helpline 155 from the Western Division linking the Homes-CARE initiative.

“The council is aware of cases where traders increased the price of goods after the initiative was rolled out, to make money off the misery of Fijians,” said council chief executive Premila Kumar.

“One disappointed complainant found a Homes-CARE initiative trader selling a 32inch television screen for $712 while the same product was available for $499 with a non Homes-CARE initiative trader.

“In another case, a complainant also from the Western Division, found a trader trying to take advantage of the Homes-CARE payout by increasing the price of a bicycle from $329 to $549.”

She said these unscrupulous traders were not only profiting from the suffering of Fijians, but defrauding the Government of funds set aside to assist victims of natural disasters.

The Homes-CARE initiative was rolled out by Government to aid Fijians who lost household items or whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Josie and Keni earlier this year.

Fijians who qualified for this assistance received cards loaded with up to $7000 to purchase materials to repair their homes and replace possessions that were lost or badly damaged from assigned traders working with the initiative.

“The council advises traders that the practice is not only considered exploitative but unethical and illegal,” Ms Kumar said.

“The council is currently conducting price survey and it will name traders involved in price gouging.”

Consumers are encouraged to call the council’s toll free number 155 to lodge or alert the council on Homes-CARE initiative traders for increasing the price of goods.

The Homes-CARE initiative vendors are G S Industrial Supplies; Autocare (Fiji) Limited; Kasabias Limited; Home and Living – Vinod Patel; Subrails Company; Lonta Manufacturers Limited; Rups Investment Limited “Big Bear”; Vinod Patel – Complete Home & Building; R B Patel Group Limited; Visions Investment Limited; Haroons Hardware; Rakiraki Hardware Limited; New World; Carpenters Hardware; Homemaker and R C Manubhai.

 

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