The Consumer Council of Fiji says their regular market surveillance, spot checks and trader/services visit have revealed that the overall market compliance to consumer protection laws stands at 48 per cent.
Council chief executive Seema Shandil indicated that the height of festivities when consumers were engaging in increased spending, businesses used the opportunity to profiteer, breaching certain consumer protections laws.
She said the compliance data have indicated that out of every two businesses consumers engaged with, it is highly probable that one of them was non-compliant – which is directly proportional to breaching consumer right.
Shandil said out of the overall business market compliance which stood at 48 per cent (includes both retailers/traders and service providers), the compliance rate of traders/retailers (supermarkets, pharmacies and other retail stores) was 55 per cent whilst the compliance rate for service providers (banks, service stations, salons, postal services and other businesses dealing with services) was 43 per cent.
“The above data informs us that not only are consumers being provided shoddy, substandard and unmerchantable products, they are also being subjected to poor service delivery in the service sector.”
“The Council has already started follow-up visits and repeat offenders will be referred for stringent enforcement actions. During the period in question, the Council referred 107 businesses to enforcement bodies for continuous or gross breach of consumer protection laws and consumer rights.”
“In relation to traders of goods, the highest level of non-compliance can be seen in retail shops and canteens with 90%; with breach of price control order, sale of expired goods, retailing loose cigarettes, increasing prices of goods at night, misleading advertisements, not displaying price tags and placing exorbitant charges for use of mobile money,” Shandil added.
She said that the Council is reassuring consumers that we will work closely with relevant enforcement agencies to iron out these issues and continuously push for stringent enforcement actions to ensure an increase in the level of compliance by traders and service providers.