Crime & Court

Consumer Council Helps Students Recover $3600 From Bogus Agent

The First Year University of the South Pacific student, together with six other Kiribati students, were conned $3600 by the said agent who promised to secure them a rental apartment.
14 Aug 2020 11:40
Consumer Council Helps Students Recover $3600 From Bogus Agent
Kiribati national Bate Tiaeki, 19, at the University of the South Pacific in Laucala Bay, Suva. Photo: Fonua Talei

Nineteen-year-old Kiribati national, Bate Tiaeki, is a happy student today after recovering the money he and his peers had paid to a fake real estate agent.

Thanks to the Consumer Council of Fiji who assisted him in the process.

The First Year University of the South Pacific student, together with six other Kiribati students, were conned $3600 by the said agent who promised to secure them a rental apartment.

As Mr Tiaeki shared with this newspaper, the incident was a rude awakening for him having only been in Fiji since February 7.

In June the group of friends set out in search of a flat after spending some months in a hostel.

The idea was to get an accommodation for everyone to stay together under one roof.

After days of searching online they found a Facebook post for a four-bedroom house to rent in Nailuva Road.

“When we saw the post we contacted the agent and we scheduled to meet. On the day that we saw the flat we agreed to pay the rent which was $1800 plus the bond which was another $1800 and after paying the money we were told that we could move in a few days after on a Friday,” Mr Tiaeki said.

However, the day to move into their new home never came.

“The day before we were supposed to move I called the agent and he said there were issues with the landlord and the house documentation. He kept postponing the date and after a few weeks we received confirmation from another agent that the guy was a con artist.”

Mr Tiaeki said that was when he decided to approach the Consumer Council for help after hearing about their services during their school orientation programme.

“I am grateful to Consumer Council for taking the time to help locate the person and get him to pay back all our money.”

He said he has learnt his lesson and will, in the future, deal directly with landlords when enquiring about flats.

The group of students have since been paid back $3000 and have been promised the remaining $600 by the end of the week.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj

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