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Market Surveillance Provisions Under The Commission Act 2010

Market Surveillance Provisions Under The Commission Act 2010
May 28
14:45 2018

The following is a weekly contribution by Joel Abraham, the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission chief executive officer.  For more information or details on Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission and the FCCC Act 2010, visit its website on www.fccc.gov.fj

 

The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) being an Independent Government Statutory body established under Section 7 of the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission Act 2010 (FCCC Act 2010) has its core roles of promoting competition, regulating monopolistic industries, controlling prices of goods and services where competition is lessened or weakened and protecting consumers from unfair trade practices in the Fijian Markets.

Under Section 126 of the FCCC Act 2010, an officer of FCCC has the power to enter any premises suspected to be involved in activities that are deemed to be in breach of the FCCC Act 2010, make inquiries or examinations related to findings inside those premises and can even enforce entry through search warrants issued by a court of competent jurisdiction.

In addition, the officers of FCCC conduct market surveillance through monitoring the general market activities such as advertisements, promotions, buying and selling, mergers and acquisitions, consumer protection and competition etc. The overall mandate for these roles is provided under Section 15 of the FCCC Act 2010.

What is Monitoring or Surveillance of Price Control Items?

Monitoring or surveillance of Price Control Items is the system put in place by FCCC for the conduct of price surveillance and physical checking of price-controlled items at various wholesale and retail outlets in Fiji. The price monitoring task is undertaken to ensure that traders comply with the provisions set out under Price Control Orders’ and Price Authorisation legally issued by FCCC. FCCC sets the maximum prices of price-controlled goods and services by way of price control orders and authorisations and all traders must comply with those prices.

Price monitoring is often carried out through routine trader inspections and daily market surveillance activities. FCCC appoints officers under Section 18 of its Act to conduct the monitoring and surveillance exercise and report to it any breach that may come to their attention or notice. Surveillance work is normally carried out through the checking of advertisements, promotions, buying and selling and addressing consumer grievances.

 

Some of the breaches identified during Trader Monitoring

Below are some of the breaches commonly identified during monitoring exercises –

  1. Overcharging – This breach is identified when traders and consumers alike are found to have sold or bought, offer or accept, agree to sell or agree to buy any price control items at a price exceeding the maximum price set out by a price control order or authorisation issued by the FCCC.

 

  1. Prices to be Indicated – This breach is highlighted where a trader has for sale by retail any price control or non-price control goods and services without marking or displaying the maximum price clearly and in a prominent position for the information of the public.

 

  1. Failing to issue proper tax invoice and keep records – This breach is committed when a trader fails to issue a tax invoice with all relevant particulars or issue invoices purporting to be tax invoice, but does not contain all the relevant particulars required under the FCCC Act 2010. All VAT registered traders are required under the Counter-Inflation (Tax Invoice) Order, 1992 to issue tax invoices for sales of $10 or more. The relevant particulars include –
  2. the name and address of the seller and purchaser,
  3. the date of sale,
  4. a description of the goods,
  5. the quantity of goods,
  6. the price charged,
  7. delivery costs and
  8. other particulars including VAT component,etc.

 

  1. Refusal to sell – This is a breach commited when a trader refuses to sell goods or services to a customer, if the customer has tendered the correct price of that good or service, but demanded that a higher price than that prescribed by an order or authorisation issued by the FCCC.

 

  1. No Pull dates marked – The breach is committed when a trader has goods of perishable or semi-perishable nature for sale without having the pull dates marked clearly on the packets.

 

  1. Bait Advertising – This is a breach committed by a trader who advertises a certain good or service at a price knowing that he does not have sufficient stock or the ability to supply the item at the advertised price, but intends to lure customers into his shop in order to sell other goods having much higher prices.

 

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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