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Heavy penalties imposed on traders’ unfair practices after TC Winston, Fiji Commerce Commission warns

  The Fiji Commerce Commission has warned the nation’s businesses that heavy penalties including imprisonment could be imposed if they engage in unfair practices after Cyclone Winston. Commission Chair Joann
03 Mar 2016 15:14
Heavy penalties imposed on traders’ unfair practices after TC Winston, Fiji Commerce Commission warns
Fiji Commerce Commission Chair, Joann Young

 

The Fiji Commerce Commission has warned the nation’s businesses that heavy penalties including imprisonment could be imposed if they engage in unfair practices after Cyclone Winston.

Commission Chair Joann Young said: “The Commission has received complaints from the public of businesses jacking up prices, hoarding goods and refusing to supply them and adulterating certain consumer products to make profit.

“It is a shameful behavior that Fijian traders are taking advantage of the cyclone to rip off their fellow citizen.”

She emphasized that three hardware companies and 2 grocery sellers have been identified and spot fines imposed.

Ms. Young said: “The FCC is currently carrying out inspection in major affection areas to investigate traders are not artificially increasing prices of common items needed by customs during this period.

She said some traders are suspected of price gouging on a wide range of products.

These include batteries, candles, tinned fish, torches, bottled water, hurricane lanterns, solar panels, chargers and lights, rope, building materials, generators ,tarpaulin, tents, kitchen utensils and other general hardware and groceries.

Ms. Young said the Commerce Commission Decree of 2010 prescribed heavy penalties for price gouging and limiting supply.

“Failing to supply available goods as demanded – hoarding with the intent to limit supply and inflate prices, conditional sales and adulteration of goods.”

Traders who are found to be in breach of the Decree face on-the-spot fines of up to $3000 per offence.

Ms Young also reminded traders that they can face prosecution and fines up to $10,000 for a first offence.

“A maximum penalty of five times that for subsequent offences and/or imprisonment of up to three years.”

Courts can also impose pecuniary penalties of up to $1million to body corporate and $300,000 to individuals.

“I urge any Fijian who suspects that a business is jacking up prices or engaging in other unfair practices to contact the Commission.

“We must all be watchdogs at the present time to guard against unscrupulous people taking advantage of this national tragedy to profit themselves at the expense of their fellow Fijians.’’

EDITED BY: AATIKA PATEL

Feedback:  christine.nikola@fijisun.com.fj




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