Guide To A Shopper’s Buyer Behaviour

In most cases, businesses have the right to decide who they do business with.  There are legitimate reasons a business may refuse to sell or supply goods or services to
23 Jan 2017 10:50
Guide To A Shopper’s Buyer Behaviour

In most cases, businesses have the right to decide who they do business with.  There are legitimate reasons a business may refuse to sell or supply goods or services to a customer.


About a ‘shopper’?

A “shopper” is a person who is buying things from a shop or a number of shops. She/he is also considered a consumer.

Consumer’s buyer behaviour and the resulting purchase decision are strongly influenced by cultural, social, personal and psychological characteristics customer.

Cultural factors – include a consumer’s culture, subculture and social class. These factors are often inherent in our values and decision processes.

Social factors – include groups (reference groups, aspirational groups and member groups), family, roles and status. This explains the outside influences of others on our purchase decisions either directly or indirectly.

Personal factors – include such variables as age and lifecycle stage, occupation, economic circumstances, lifestyle (activities, interests, opinions and demographics), personality and self concept. These may explain why our preferences often change as our `situation’ changes.

Psychological factors – include motivation, perception, learning, beliefs and attitudes.


Prices of Goods and Services

Shoppers need to know that there are certain goods and services that are under price control in the Commerce Commission Act 2010 (CCA2010). They can access the Commission’s website: to find out the details.

Goods or services not in the above list are considered non-price controlled goods and services which are only legally required to be price marked or displayed within the trading premises.


Price Marking and Display

Shoppers should observe the following when out shopping:

All goods and services in which an order has been issued by the Commission should have their prices clearly marked or displayed for the information of the public.

Prices should only be sold at prices marked or displayed, unless those prices are in breach of the controlled price;

Any uncertainty in prices should be first clarified with the shop management;

All price displays or markings should be VIP.

Traders who are registered under the VAT Decree 1991 should issue a ‘Tax Invoice’ if the shopper’s total purchase is $10 or more in value;

It is very important for shoppers to obtain and keep copies or originals of-

– receipts,

–  contracts,

– bill of sale,

– any other sale documents provided at the time of purchase.

Such documents provide evidence of the transaction including the terms and conditions thereof. No shopper should destroy these documents before the expiry of three (3) years from the date it originated as this can result in legal action being instituted against the offender.

Seek expert advice before buying goods or services and make extensive enquiries with the salesperson or management to get the information required to make an informed choice.


Expected Guarantees in Goods and Services

Acceptable quality (does everything a consumer reasonably expects; have an acceptable appearance and finish; AND are safe, durable and have no defects.

Fitness for purpose (guarantee of fitness for purpose won’t apply if you didn’t actually rely on the supplier’s skill and judgment or if it was unreasonable for you to do so)

Match the description (Goods sold, hired or leased to a consumer must match their description given by a salesperson or on packaging, labelling or advertising)

Match the sample or demonstration model (Goods should match the sample or demonstration model in quality and condition)

Express warranties (seller or manufacturer makes extra promises about goods – they are guaranteeing that those extra promises will be met)

Repairs and spare parts (Suppliers should be able to provide spare parts and ensure repair facilities are available for a reasonable period of time).

Ownership, undisturbed po session and hidden charges (Once purchase full ownership should be passed to buyer)

Due care and skill (Suppliers to carry out services with ‘due care and skill’. This means they have to use an acceptable level of skill or technical knowledge and they must take care to avoid loss or damage)

Reasonable time (Services must be provided within a reasonable time or by the completion date stated in the contract)


Major failures of goods and services

Major failures in goods are those which can’t be fixed or are too difficult to fix. The tests are:

A consumer not knowing or not expected to know beforehand about a problem in goods or services. For example:

– vacuum cleaner that falls apart after three months.

– keys cut for your house but they are cut so poorly that they don’t open your front door.

Goods are significantly different from their description, sample or demonstration model. For example, you need a lime green leotard for your end-of-year gymnastics performance but the online retailer sends you an aqua leotard instead.

The goods are unfit for their normal purpose or the purpose specified to the supplier, and can’t be fixed in a reasonable time. For example, your new gumboots have a hole in the sole and can’t be worn in the rain.

The goods are unsafe. For example, your new toaster sends out sparks when you switch it on.

A consumer would not have paid for the service had they known about the problem. For example, you pay for replacement

The service is substantially unfit for its usual purpose and can’t be fixed in a reasonable period of time. For example, you engage a gardener to look after your lawn while you are on holidays, but he puts weed killer on the grass instead of fertilizer.

The consumer told the supplier about the particular purpose the service was required for and it has not met that purpose and can’t be fixed in a reasonable period of time. For example, you pay for a photographer to take photos at an 80th birthday party, but the photographer gets the date wrong and doesn’t turn up.

The consumer told the supplier that the service needed to achieve a certain result and the service has not met that result and cannot be fixed in a reasonable period of time. For example, you engage a carpenter to build a carport and tell him you’ll be parking your 4WD in it. He doesn’t take the measurements properly and your 4WD doesn’t fit.

The supply of the service has resulted in an unsafe situation. For example, you engage another builder to build your carport to the correct height but he doesn’t use the right beams and the roof starts to buckle in the middle.

What you can a shopper do?

In the case of a major failure a consumer can:

return the goods to the supplier and ask for a refund

return the goods to the supplier and ask for a replacement

keep the goods and ask for compensation for the difference in value from either the supplier or the manufacturer.

cancel the contract and pay a reasonable amount for the work done or ask for a refund for the money already paid

keep the contract and negotiate a reduced price.

Report the matter to the Commission

Next Week: Trader’s Guide

This is a weekly column compiled by the Fiji Commerce Commission in the hopes of raising awareness on what the FCC does so people can benefit from developing a better understanding. For more information/details on Fiji Commerce Commission and Commerce Commission Decree 2010, visit our website on or join us on our Facebook page at


Goods and services under price control:


Baby milk of all (imported and locally packed)

Dried leguminous vegetables shelled, whether or not skinned or split (imported)

Pharmaceutical – patents falling within chapters 28-30 of the Fiji customs tariff

Milk-powdered, evaporated or condensed(with or without other ingredients)(imported and locally packed)

edible oils of all types(imported)

Premium Unleaded Petrol (PLUP)

Butter (imported)

Canned fish (imported) in Natural oil or tomato Sauce; (tuna; 170g, 185g; Sardines 106g, 155g,


corned beef and corned mutton (canned)(with or without other ingredients) (imported or local)

Margarine of all types (imported and local)

Solvent gasoline (known as white benzene)

Milk – liquid (imported and local)

Rice (imported brown and milled in Fiji)

Rice-white or polished of all types (imported)

Pre-mixed out-board fuel

garlic (imported)

Sugar (imported and local)

Hardware items as per list in PCO

onions (imported)

tea leaves of all types (imported and local) excepting Masala tea             Rent for residential and ground properties to which the CCA applies.

Potatoes (imported)

Salt (imported)

Fees and Charges of all regulated industries

Biscuits (Breakfast Crackers)

flour, sharps



Inter-island Shipping passenger fares and cargo freight rates

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