Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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49 complaints against driving schools

The Consumer Council of Fiji has registered 49 complaints against the driving school industry since 2021.

Council Chief Executive Seema Shandil highlighted that consumers have the right to expect transparency, professionalism, and reliability when engaging with driving schools.

Shandil said the reported cases of misconduct, including incomplete services and unprofessional behaviour, are clear violations of consumer rights.

She said a number of complaints alleging breached contracts, unprofessional behaviour, and incomplete services by dubious players are tarnishing the industry’s reputation.

“Consumers are being alerted to conduct proper research, request for agreements and ensure clear terms and conditions when engaging with driving schools.”

“Also, consumers have reported a concerning range of issues, including driving schools failing to deliver the contracted number of lessons, instructors exhibiting rude and unprofessional behaviour, arbitrary cancellations and rescheduling of lessons which is causing inconvenience and disruption,” she said.

Shandil said consumers have also reported instances of bait-and-switch tactics, where driving schools accept payments for manual licence lessons but provide lessons for automatic licenses instead, or unexpectedly request additional fees mid-course.

“Coupled with unresponsive communication channels, these practices leave consumers feeling frustrated and uninformed.”

She also said six complaints were lodged against another school last year for accepting payments but failing to provide any services or communication, prompting referral to the Land Transport Authority for enforcement action.

Shandil is encouraging consumers to write agreements that outline the terms and conditions of the driving lessons, including the number of lessons, schedule, fees, and cancellation policies for clear communication and understanding of these terms is essential to avoid misunderstandings and protect consumer rights.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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