SUNBIZ

Council Records Complaints Worth Over $2.5m

The Consumer Council of Fiji has registered and investigated 1618 complaints worth more than $2.5 million over the past nine months. This was an average of 179 complaints per month
21 Oct 2014 12:05
Council Records Complaints Worth Over $2.5m
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama while having talanoa session with Cautata villagers on October 22, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

The Consumer Council of Fiji has registered and investigated 1618 complaints worth more than $2.5 million over the past nine months.

This was an average of 179 complaints per month or roughly nine complaints per working day.

The council through effective mediation managed to resolve 918 complaints, which resulted in putting $1.4 million back into consumers’ pockets.

Council chief executive, Premila Kumar, said every year consumers lose millions of dollars through unfair trading practices.

Top concern in the last nine months was the removal of nine popular channels by the Sky Pacific where 351 complaints were registered.

However after public outcry, Fiji Television restored four channels.

Other complaints on the list are poor quality mobile phones, internet and mobile services, substandard electronic goods, landlord/tenancy issues, utility bills, food/drinks etc.

 

Smartphones

Ms Kumar said with zero duty on smart phones, more mobile shops are mushrooming across the country.

She said these shops are selling shoddy products which are counterfeit, refurbished or which come without spare parts and back up service.

“Consumers are faced with problems such as battery defects, unworkable charger, phone screen going blank, abrupt display of foreign language and other hardware/software issues,” she said.

“The council has also noted that mobile phones sold through hire purchase, provide limited disclosure on warranty issues.

“Investigations reveal that due to fine prints used in the hire purchase agreement, consumers are unable to read and understand what is covered under warranty and what is not.”

The Council expects to see a surge in complaints relating to mobile phones and electronic goods given the festive season.

Consumers are encouraged to lodge their complaints with consumer protection organisations for redress to protect their hard earned money.

 

Other complaints

Other complaints were related to low internet speed, mobile services relating to network issues and misleading advertisements.

Complaints on electronic goods are mostly on home brands.

Unavailability of spare parts and back up service are key issues where consumers get no or little redress when their newly invested electronic goods become faulty.

Consumers were dissatisfied with the after sales service, often having to wait for six months to get the product fixed.

Warranty terms and conditions were not clearly explained, which resulted in disputes when traders demanded repair costs despite extended warranty.

 

The trends

Ms Kumar said it was foreseeable these complaints will continue to increase since Fiji does not have the necessary standards to prevent the importation of such shoddy products into the country.

She noted there is a slight decrease in the landlord and tenancy complaints with 110 complaints recorded this year compared to 130 complaints registered for the same period last year.

“The slight decrease may be attributable to more consumers being aware of their rights and obligations,” she said.

 

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