PRESS ALERT

‘Use and Abuse of Antibiotics’


Consumers play a crucial role in combating the Antimicrobial/Antibiotics resistance (AMR) which has now become world’s most pressing public health problem. Click here for more information.

Increase in Mill Mix Price –is it a Case of Price Gouging!


The Consumer Council of Fiji is warning businesses against post-disaster price gouging as consumers continue to experience sudden price increases on a range of goods. Click here for more information.

Mediators Meet to discuss Logistics

The Consumer Council of Fiji in conjunction with the Judicial Department will host Mediators Forum, this Friday (04 March) in Suva. This Forum would be the first for the 14 Fijian accredited mediators to hold discussions on the way forward for the newly-established Fiji Mediation Centre (FMC). For more information.

Empty Shelves in Supermarkets

The Consumer Council of Fiji received complaints and concerns from consumers that some supermarkets and shops located in the urban and peri-urban areas are running low on basic food items after the Tropical Cyclone Winston. Consumers found lot more empty shelves in some supermarket that usually stocked basic food items. For more information.

Cost of Bank Statement

The Consumer Council of Fiji is expressing its disappointment on the cost of bank statement required by the cyclone-struck families for withdrawals under natural disaster assistance offered by the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF). For more information.

Credit Card Fraud

The Consumer Council of Fiji is calling on the Banks to clear the air on who will be bearing the cost of accumulated interest and Government levy, incurred by customers due to credit card fraud, recently. Click here for more information.

Council welcomes the clamp down on 5 Businesses

The Consumer Council of Fiji applauds Fiji Revenue & Customs Authority for issuing Value Added Tax (VAT) Infringement Notices to five businesses for failing to pass VAT reductions to the consumers. Click here for more information.

LTA's Letter - Cancellation of Authorised Motor Vehicle Dealer Licence to Ariana Used Cars and Sales Ltd.

A letter from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to Ariana Used Cars and Sales Ltd (trader)regarding the cancellation of the Authorised Motor Vehicle Dealer (AMVD) Licence for  second hand motor vehicle trader. This trader must cease business operations. Please click on this link to access this letter.

PRESS RELEASE

Keep Your Receipts!

Consumers are advised to hold on to their receipts every time they purchase any goods or pay for any services from now on as this will help them know if the prices for the same goods/services have been adjusted to reflect the 6 % Value Added Tax (VAT) reduction, come 1 January 2016.

The call comes from the Consumer Council of Fiji as consumers nationwide prepare to embrace the big drop in the prices of the goods and services. 

It is crystal clear that prices of all goods and services must come down with the VAT reduction but the Council fears that some dishonest traders/retailers may make excuses and fail to adjust the price to reflect the VAT reduction.

The new 9 % VAT will apply on all goods and services- be it old or new stock. Consumers who retain their receipts from now on can easily check the difference, if any in the New Year.

The Council reiterates that consumers must increase vigilance and demand receipts. In this way, you will know whether price has dropped in the New Year. Even if you are buying groceries, clothes, shoes, bags, make-up sets, perfumes, jewelry, electronic goods, gadgets, treating yourself with a facial at a beauty palour or buying a car or a mobile phone or eating out  or having a cuppa at a downtown coffee shop – get the receipts.

Consumer solidarity is required if we want to expose traders who see VAT reduction as extra profit margin for the company

The receipts will be your best evidence to prove that traders have failed to make price adjustments in the New Year.  Prices of all goods and services except for the previously VAT exempted items which include rice, flour, tin fish, powdered milk, tea, cooking oil, kerosene and prescribed medicine – all other goods and services must attract a price reduction in the new year.

We are expecting price drops on millions of items available in the marketplace. For instance, in restaurant services (as prices of groceries will drop), spare parts, utilities, household goods such as furniture, hair and beauty salon services, car repair costs, construction services and other services we use on a daily basis.

With massive Christmas sale, promotions underway, consumers will be spending money on a range of goods and services, hence, the onus is on the consumers to demand for receipts and preserving them is crucial.

Receipts that travel with you in your wallet can easily get smudged and blurred, and may be illegible by the time you try to use them. One thing that you can do is scan the receipts using a digital scanner or click a picture of the receipt using your mobile phone.

Consumers must assist the Government in exposing the perpetrators who fail to reflect the 6 % VAT reduction in the New Year and their best evidence to do so will be their old receipts and the ones they receive from January 2016. 

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JOINT PRESS RELEASE

Price Surveillance Taskforce

The Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority will now work with the Consumer Council of Fiji and the Fiji Commerce Commission to clamp down on traders who are not passing the reduction in duties and VAT to consumers. Click here for more information.

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"Consumers Right to Financial Services"

The Consumer Council of Fiji hosted an ‘Open Forum’, which brought together key players from the Financial Services Sector under one roof and had an open and frank discussion on the consumer friendly policy reforms happening in this sector.

This Forum was held at Tanoa Plaza Hotel in Suva on Monday, 7 December 2015.

Please click on this link to access remarks by Chief Executive Officer - Ms. Premila Kumar.

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RELEASES! 

Display and Charge Correct Prices, Traders Warned!

 With crazy sale and promotions underway in the build-up to the Christmas festivity, the Consumer Council of Fiji is urging consumers to be vigilant while shopping. Click here for more information.

Pay the correct Stamp Duty

The Consumer Council of Fiji is advising consumers to be aware of the new stamp duties that are to come into effect from 1 January 2016. Click here for more information.

Trader responsibility is vital

 The Consumer Council of Fiji is warning all traders and retailers to refrain from selling hazardous and harmful substance to children or minors.

Traders should exercise “responsibility” and not sell hazardous products to children.

The Council’s comments follow reports of alleged suicide incident involving three students where they allegedly purchased a hazardous product at a hardware shop.

It is common sense that if a primary school pupil walks in and wants to buy a weedkiller or glue, alarms should start ringing and traders should immediately know that something is not right.

The ‘right to safety’ is an important consumer right that underpins the need to prevent the irresponsible use, sale and marketing of hazardous products and services.

The consumers’ ‘right to safety’ encompasses the right to be protected against the marketing of goods which are  hazardous to their health and life.

The business practices of retailers are crucial as they are in a position to curb product misuse by not freely selling hazardous and volatile substances, particularly to children.

 The Council’s submission to the National Substance Abuse Advisory Council  [Ministry of Education] on the draft  Volatile Substance Abuse Control Decree 2013, stressed  the  pivotal role of traders/retailers in the sale and marketing  of volatile substances, such as glue to children and other vulnerable consumers.

The Council believes that traders should also be a key target group in policies or laws/regulations intended to curb the misuse or abuse of volatile substances.

 

 

Feature Article

Hundreds suffer from vehicle accidents annually yet they are not fairly compensated for the physical, emotional and psychological stress that they endure.

Questions have arisen as to whether anyone really cares about the innocent victims of fatal or near fatal accidents and the loss of lives and livelihoods for the injured or deceased families?

It is now more than 12 months when more

than 40 school children and other passengers met with the horrific bus accident at Kubukawa Road when the bus lost control.

The force of the impact was such that several passengers were thrown from the buses windscreen resulting in major injury including loss of limb.

One of the victims involved in that fatal accident was a 73 year-old KanchanLal, who had sustained injuries to his head and legs. He has been running around for a year now, seeking compensation but all doors seemed to be closed on him. Frustrated and feeling let down, Lal lodged his complaint with the Council. While he is thankful to be alive, but his life has not been the same since the ill-fated incident on 28May 2014.

The accident not just affected his health but left a deep hole in his pocket. The injuries he sustained are now taking toll on his mobility. He is attending regular reviews at the hospital.

For this, he is incurring time and money to meet medicine and transport expenses amongst other incidentals. Apart from this, Lal is unable to perform his regular household tasks.

Upon receiving the complaint from Lal, the Council sought clarification from the bus company on the delay to pay out injured passengers. The bus company informed the Council that the third party claim wasdeclined by the insurance company.

The Council contacted the insurance company who confirmed that they had declined all the claims lodged by the bus company simply because the bus company in question was issued with two ‘defect orders’ by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) prior to the accident.

The bus company’s Compulsory Third Party Policywas cancelled because the bus company chose to ignore the defect orders and continued to run their defective bus on the road causing accident.
As a result of this, the insurance company will not entertain any claims put forward by the passengers who sustained injuries during the accident.

Like Lal, the other passengers are also waiting in anticipation, that they will be compensated soon.

It is crystal clear, the bus company owes a duty of care to these passengers and they must take responsibility to ensure that the injured passengers are compensated. After all, the bus company in question kept running their defective bus on the road compromising the lives of the passengers.

Now with the new Board, to preside over the LTA, it is time to also review the route licenses given to the bus companies to operate because some bus companies have gone complacent – they keep driving on their routes without taking any responsibility of improving their fleets.

Route licenses should be reviewed and accident history, bus breakdown and customer satisfaction should be used as an important benchmark. This will weed out bad operators and give opportunity to responsible bus operators to take over that route.

Unfortunately, today’s social reality is that not everyone has the money to go to court to seek compensation. Even in cases compensation was received by making third party insurance claims, the amount was often too small to cater for the injuries suffered and long delays were costly for victims. Bus passenger compensation claims are limited to $4000 per person or $40,000 for all passengers collectively. The amount divided amongst injured passengers is a measly sum which is based on the total number of passengers.

In Lal’s case, the Council is still waiting for a response from the notorious bus company who has gone all silent on the issue. Lal and other passengers onboard that bus deserve a just and a prompt payout because - justice delayed is justice denied!

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Insurance companies must stop putting pressure on public health system!

The Consumer Council of Fiji is concerned with how some insurance companies are clogging the country’s public hospitals and health centers by referring insured patients to seek treatment there.

The Council is asking why insured patients are being asked by their insurers to use public hospitals like the Colonial War Memorial Hospital and other divisional hospitals and health center facilities. Why can’t they seek treatment at privately-run medical clinics or hospital (Suva Private Hospital) when they have health insurance covers? After all, Fiji citizens can access free medical service at public hospital without paying any private doctor or insurance company. So the question now is how are the insured gaining by having a health insurance cover that directs them to the public health facilities?

Public hospitals are funded by taxpayer dollars, for the public, especially those without the means to pay for medical or health care.

When an insured patient is told by his/her insurance company to seek medical care at the public hospital/health center, this further burdens the system, adding more pressure to the limited resources particularly on doctors, nurses and other staff, who are already working round the clock to cope with a large number of patients.

The intention behind having health insurance cover is to enable insured patients to have access to private health care facilities, avoiding long waiting lists at public hospitals.

Unfortunately, with present day practice, there is no shift in burden - the waiting list for patients seeking surgery or other specialist treatment, keeps growing with increased demand for medical services at divisional public hospitals around the country.

In a recent case handled by the Council, a woman who had health insurance cover had fallen ill while holidaying in Suva and had a surgery at Suva Private Hospital.

However, when the woman lodged her claim for coverage under the policy with her insurance provider, it was declined. The insurance provider stated that under the terms of the policy, treatment at any Approved Private Medical Facility (APMF) is covered only if treatment is not available at a local Public Hospital.

In a letter to the Council, the insurance provider stated that before they endorse treatment at any APMF, they assess the information in light of whether the policy is valid, type of cover and whether the treatment is medically necessary and if so, whether the treatment is NOT available at the Local Public Hospital.

The insurance provider further stated: “…the mandatory procedure for approval to undergo treatment at a private medical facility if the insured falls ill outside place of his/her normal residence as stated in the policy – under the terms of a Value Care policy, a patient must first seek hospitalization at any Local Public Hospital regardless of the location. If treatment is not available at the Local Public Hospital, then the patient can be treated at APMF….”

The woman had paid her annual premium thinking that she would have easy access to medical care at a private facility in the time of need.

It is widely known that a patient cannot just walk in and demand for surgery at any of the divisional public hospitals, their files need to be re-assessed and managed accordingly, depending on severity.

The Council is urging Ministry of Health to look at the use of public health facilities by the health insurance providers to prevent adding further stress to the country’s public health services, which Government is working hard to improve.

Such insurance companies should not be allowed to earn profit on the back of the taxpayers – after all those insured do pay a premium.

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Spend Wisely At 2015 Fiji Showcase!

With the Fiji Showcase 2015 starting this Friday, the Consumer Council of Fiji is urging consumers to be prudent when spending their money – be frugal.

 As consumers will be paying an entry fee (as well as for parking) to enjoy this annual trade and entertainment show, we encourage them to take advantage of the sale and discounts but watch out for goods which may have expired, nearing expiry or are damaged. Some retailers use such opportunities to dispose of old stock and restock their stores.

 It is important that consumers are aware of their rights and responsibilities while trying to take advantage of the specials and bargains offered at the venue. Consumers should know that goods sold during trade fair shows can be returned or replaced if the product turns out to be faulty or defective. Consumer’s right to seek redress remains intact at all times.

 It is easy to be seduced by low-priced items but consumers are advised to look for real bargains and not items which may be selling at reduced price because it is close to expiry date, is of  poor quality, and have no back-up service or spare parts.

 If you plan to bulk buy an item which may be nearing expiry, it will be wise to share the purchase with another family/neighbor/friend so that the item is used before the expiry date and your money is not wasted.

 Consumers must be cautious, critical and smart as they shop at the showcase. A responsible consumer will not indulge in impulse buying.

The Council is also reminding consumers to demand for receipts no matter how busy the place is. Receipt is the evidence of your purchase in case you need to return or exchange the product.

Traders participating in the show case should be equally responsible and honest.

With the Fiji Showcase 2015 starting this Friday, the Consumer Council of Fiji is urging consumers to be prudent when spending their money – be frugal.

 As consumers will be paying an entry fee (as well as for parking) to enjoy this annual trade and entertainment show, we encourage them to take advantage of the sale and discounts but watch out for goods which may have expired, nearing expiry or are damaged. Some retailers use such opportunities to dispose of old stock and restock their stores.

 It is important that consumers are aware of their rights and responsibilities while trying to take advantage of the specials and bargains offered at the venue. Consumers should know that goods sold during trade fair shows can be returned or replaced if the product turns out to be faulty or defective. Consumer’s right to seek redress remains intact at all times.

 It is easy to be seduced by low-priced items but consumers are advised to look for real bargains and not items which may be selling at reduced price because it is close to expiry date, is of  poor quality, and have no back-up service or spare parts.

 If you plan to bulk buy an item which may be nearing expiry, it will be wise to share the purchase with another family/neighbor/friend so that the item is used before the expiry date and your money is not wasted.

Consumers must be cautious, critical and smart as they shop at the showcase. A responsible consumer will not indulge in impulse buying.

The Council is also reminding consumers to demand for receipts no matter how busy the place is. Receipt is the evidence of your purchase in case you need to return or exchange the product.

Traders participating in the show case should be equally responsible and honest.

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Beware of Whisky Tampering!

The Consumer Council of Fiji is cautioning all whisky-lovers to watch out for alcohol adulteration.

 The Council’s call comes in light after a consumer lodged a complaint about a bottle of Regal Whisky which he claims may have been illicitly tampered with.

 The Nausori consumer was left disappointed when he found out that the bottle of Regal Whisky that he bought from a retail outlet in Nausori (Eady’s Mart) last month did not have the authentic taste of whisky.

 On 29 May 2015, the consumer bought the 1125 ml bottle of Regal Whisky for $78. Upon consuming the drink, he found the taste and smell to be odd, unusual. The frustrated consumer raised his concern with the Council.

 The Council approached the Manufacturer, Paradise Beverages (South Pacific Distillery) and the trader- Eady’s Mart for verification. Paradise Beverages carried out a lab test on the sample provided by the consumer and the results confirm that the contents in the bottle had properties of vinegar (acetic acid) and not whisky.

 Trader, Eady’s Mart, however, has distanced itself from the alleged product tampering saying that they buy the product from other supermarkets.

 The Council commends Paradise Beverages for their decision to engage the Ministry of Health to further investigate the case of product tampering. In the meantime, the Council will continue to keep a tab on the case and will be working closely with Ministry of Health in a bid to ensure that consumers are not short changed by adulterated products.

 Adulteration of food/beverages falls under the ambit of the Food Safety Act 2003 Section 4(1) clearly states that -A person who sells, or prepares, packs, keeps or conveys for the purpose of sale, any food that is adulterated commits an offence.

 Consumers who may have had similar experiences are encouraged to come forward to file their complaints with the Council or the Ministry of Health.

 

PRESS RELEASE!

Compare the Prices when buying Sugar testing Machine, Strips!

Diabetes strips

The Consumer Council of Fiji is calling on the diabetes patients to do comparative shopping when buying a sugar testing machine and strips, the two essentials for those living with diabetes to test, monitor and control their blood sugar level.

Consumers should be mindful that testing strips can be more expensive than the machines and that prices vary at different pharmacies.

The Council’s call comes following complaints and concerns raised by some consumers over certain unfair practices by some pharmacies in terms of outdated machines and strips not compatible to the machine.

As a result, the Council conducted a survey with 20 pharmacies in Suva, Lautoka and Labasa between 4 December 2014 to 9 December 2014.

The survey shows startling results such as some pharmacies importing machines that were being phased out or becoming out-of-date in overseas source markets. Consequently, some consumers are left with a machine with no compatible strips available in the marketplace making the machine useless.

For instance, a consumer who purchased the machine and strips for his elderly parents found later that the pharmacy no longer sold the particular strips for the machine he had purchased. He was forced to purchase a new machine, but a year later was asked to buy another one as the test strips for the second machine was no longer available.

The survey shows that prices of machines ranged from $23 to $103.17, with brands like Accu-chek Performa sold at the Government Pharmacy at the cheapest, for $23 and Performa (Kit) sold at a popular pharmacy for $103.17.

The findings also shows that while consumers can buy the machine at a cheaper rate, the compatible strips, on the other hand, were expensive. For example, Accu-chek (Performa) brand machine’s price ranges from $23.00 to $65.99 but its comparable strips which come in 50 pieces sell between $59.95 to$95.00. Omnitest Plus brand machine is sold from $40 to $52 but a consumer will be paying somewhere between $50 to $59. 95 for the compatible strips.

For strips, brands such as Codefree and Caresens are popular among diabetes patients. 50 pieces of Codefree is selling at a price range of $33.00 to $49.95 and price for Caresens strips ranged from$32.64 to $44.95 for the same quantity.

The common pack of strips available at the pharmacies was the pack of 50 strips with prices ranging from $32.64 to $92.95.The highest price recorded for 50 strips pack was $92.95 for the Accu-chek Performa brand while the same brand was sold at the Government Pharmacy for $46.50.

The Korean-made Caresens brand had the lowest price of $32.64 sold at a Labasa pharmacy for the same number of pieces.

Unfortunately, some pharmacies were found selling strips in packs which were nearing expiry dates at the time of the survey.

Consumers can be pragmatic by opting to take advantage of the Government pharmacy where they can buy sugar testing machines and strips at a reasonable price as compared with other players in the local market.

The consumer watchdog is also calling on the State to consider reducing fiscal duty to zero per cent on the two items, in the next budget as these are crucial for diabetes patients. This would assist the consumers in managing diabetes ultimately, easing the pressure on the State in terms of hospitalization.

The Council also stands hopeful that rules and standards will be set to deal with warranty, expiry periods of strips and pharmacies to ensure they have sufficient stock of strips and not dumping outdated machines in the market.

 

PRESS RELEASE!

Vehicle owners need to be aware of major global vehicle recall 

 The Consumer Council of Fiji is urging consumers to be aware of an ongoing global vehicle recall affecting the airbags of certain vehicle brands and models.

The recall has to do with “potentially exploding airbags” which is deadly in nature putting car passenger’s lives at risk. These airbags were made by Japanese manufacturer, Takata, which is used by many renowned automakers.

According to international news reports, the recall extends to vehicles manufactured by BMW, Chrysler, Daimler Trucks, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota. The massive recall involves 53 million-plus vehicles worldwide.

Some of the brands and models affected are: Toyota - Corolla, Vitz and other models made between March 2003 and November 2007; 2003-2005 Subaru Baja, 2003-2005 Subaru Legacy, 2003-2005 Subaru Outback and Subaru Impreza compact models,Honda CR-V 2002 to 2008; Honda Civic 2004 to 2005; Nissan N16 Pulsar; Nissan D22 Navara; Nissan Y61 Patrol; Nissan T30 X-TRAIL; Nissan A33 Maxima; Toyota Echo 2003 to 2005; Toyota RAV4 2003 to 2005; Toyota Corolla 2003 to 2007; Toyota Yaris 2005 to 2007 and Toyota Avensis 2003 to 2007. The recall also involves, BMW, Chrysler, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.

The Council has been in touch with a major local distributor, ASCO Motors, who has confirmed that they have few Corollas which are affected. ASCO Motors had informed the Council that it was in communication with Toyota for the steps to be taken. The Council appreciates ASCO Motors honesty in coming forward with this issue unlike other dealers who are taking time to respond.

The Council is calling on other motor vehicle dealers to be proactive and inform their customers whether or not their vehicles are affected. Consumers are also urged to check with their dealers about the recall. Consumers can also check online via the OECD’s global portal on product recalls: http://globalrecalls.oecd.org/ to check if their vehicle is affected. This will require information like brand, manufacturer etc and will provide more detailed information on the recalls.

Consumers must understand that the recalls are conducted as a precaution to check vehicles for defects identified during the manufacturing process and do not necessarily mean a return or replacement of the vehicle.

Meanwhile, the Council notes that Fiji does not have a proper vehicle recall system. For example, in countries like the United States, Australia and others, manufacturers are required to immediately alert vehicle regulatory agencies of a recall. Then the manufacturers and dealers are required to notify affected owners.

The Council believes for safety reasons the Land Transport Authority should take an active role and approach towards motor vehicle dealers on any vehicle recalls occurring overseas. LTA should also establish a recall protocol or mechanism through which local dealers could inform the authority and consumers if they have sold or are selling affected brands and models.

 

JOINT PRESS RELEASE

Joint PR   Joint PR   Makoi Community

NCD Crisis, high on EU, Council agenda

The Consumer Council of Fiji with the support of the European Union held a NCD community-based programme on Thursday, 30th April 2015, to promote health and prevent disease. It is envisaged that such programs will result in increased diagnosis and better management of NCDs at community level.

The programme focused on the theme; “Non-Communicable Diseases and Consumer Choices” which was held at the Makoi Muslim Primary School in Nasinu.

This empowerment initiative led by the Council and the European Union brought the women and children participants face to face with health experts and advocates working on NCD, nutrition and healthy living.

The theme fits in well with the ongoing work on NCDs highlighting the global emergency to contain the NCD epidemic. Consumer choice to healthy food is central to combat NCD. This requires a change in consumer behaviour and mindset to make informed and healthy food choices.

The program is an effective way to create discussion on this very important subject at grass-roots level and the Council is thankful to the European Union for supporting the community intervention program, especially among women and children.

In launching the community initiative today, European Union Charge d’Affaires, Johnny Engell-Hansen said: “Health is a global issue and the promotion of good health and support for equitable access to health care must be a priority in Fiji – as in any other country in the world".

“Non-communicable diseases or NCDs are part of this international agenda and fighting them must be a priority for all. NCDs - like heart attacks and strokes, cancers, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease, account for over 63% of deaths in the world today. In recent decades, NCDs have become the biggest killer in Fiji, causing 80% of deaths in Fiji every year – many of those deaths premature – and affecting the lives of many more. The socio-economic impact is astounding. Community initiatives such as this one here today are important to highlight the need for lifestyle changes to combat NCDs,” he said.

The European Union has dedicated the month of April to Health as part of its 2015 European Year for Development campaign. The EU remains committed in working with the world to break the vicious circle in which poverty undermines health with particular regard to women’s and children’s health.

The European Union has over the years, assisted the Council in its consumer justice program and has played a crucial role in the formation of the Community Consumer Advisory Group (CCAG) last year, which is a milestone for the Council as well as the consumers.

The community visit was officiated by Johnny Engell-Hansen and was attended by Ministry of Health representatives and the newly-launched Alliance for Healthy Living members.

 

PRESS RELEASE

Traders to adhere to the Fuel and Gas Price Change

The Consumer Council of Fiji welcomes the drop in fuel prices announced by the Government in its second price review for this year. This reduction will be a big relief for many consumers who are struggling with their day to day financial pressures.

With the drop in the fuel and gas prices, the Council is issuing a stern warning to all supermarkets, shopkeepers and service station managements, countrywide, to adhere to the new fuel prices.

The Consumer Watchdog is also urging the public to be vigilant and report those businesses, which have not reduced the prices of the fuel and gas as per the price change schedule, announced by the Government last Friday (10th April 2015).

We are calling on the public to exercise their responsibility and report those unscrupulous traders to the Fiji Commerce Commission or to the Council so that appropriate actions are taken against them.

There is no point in having such significant price change when the new prices do not benefit the consumers on the ground.

The fuel price reduction as announced by the Government is across the board and is effective for both mainland and the rural areas. However, prices will vary outside the cities of Suva and Lautoka and the towns of Lami due to cartage costs.

The Council is aware that some shopkeepers especially in rural areas such as Sabeto, parts of Labasa and Seaqaqa, have not yet reduced the prices of the gas and similarly fuel.

Aggrieved consumers from remote areas have been calling the Council and enquiring about the price changes. A 4.5kg gas cylinder will now cost $13.45 and a 12 kg cylinder will cost $35.87.

However, some shopkeepers have not reduced the prices to reflect the changes made. Gas is a necessity in most homes, as many households are heavily dependent on gas for cooking and any price reduction is always a relief to the families.

This is unacceptable as it derails the efforts of the Government, which is working towards assisting the vulnerable consumers.

Traders should be honest and do the right thing by following the new price schedule. Consumers must stand in solidarity to expose those traders who, disregard the new prices.

Consumers can visit the Fiji Commerce Commission website (www.commcomm.gov.fj) to view the new price schedule.

 

UPDATE - 2015 WCRD

2015 World Consumer Rights Day

NCDS ALL ABOUT CHOICES: MINISTER KOYA
3/24/2015

“LIFE is precious and it needs to be protected.” This was the message by Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Hon. Faiyaz Koya for the World Consumer Rights Day celebrations where the theme “Consumers’ Right to Healthy Food” has brought the prevalence of Non Communicable Disease in Fiji under the spotlight.

At the Consumer Council of Fiji-organised event, Minister Koya told the youth, mothers, educators and others that beyond the responsibility the Government and the business community have towards standards, it is the consumers who make the choice.

“You as consumers have an even greater role - you make the choices. Because of this, it is important to make well-thought out choices. The Government ensures protection for all Fijians through appropriate laws and measures,” he said.

He said much has been done by the authorities to ensure that Fijians eat fresh and healthy least of all the promotion of buying fresh Fiji grown fruits and vegetables but also making imported food affordable.

“This has been evident through various policies such as the reduction of fiscal duty on fruits and vegetables from 32 per cent to five per cent to enable all Fijians to have access to a variety of fruits and vegetables,” Minister Koya said.

He commended the other stakeholders such as the business community for coming together to fight NCDs.

Council chief executive officer, Premila Kumar highlighted the various cases of misleading labels and fraudulent claims on food items on supermarket shelves.

“Consumers can only know about a product through information provided on the label and we believe these labels must contain the correct information,” she said.

The council is also exploring the idea of having the nutritional value information on the front of the label rather than the back as well as having the information presented in such a way that it is understood by the consumer.

Minister Koya said Government has also put in place the Commerce Commission Decree 2010 to provide pricing determinations which eliminates restrictive trade practices and provides for the consumer protection through provisions on false and misleading representation, misleading advertising and deceptive conduct.

Ministry of Health’s National Adviser on NCD, Dr Isimeli Tukana said the Ministry was trying to bring in the star rating system from neighbours Australia and New Zealand as this has been more effective in attracting consumers on making the right choice.

World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated globally on March 15 but had to be deferred due to adverse weather.

 WCRD

2015 World Consumer Rights Day 
Theme : Consumers' Right to Healthy Food 

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/22307-healthy-food-now

Unhealthy diets contribute to more than 11 million deaths a year. This means it is now a bigger killer than tobacco. Obesity alone is estimated to cost $2 trillion per year. And this isn’t just a ‘rich world’ problem - some of the biggest increases in diet-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers are in developing countries.

It really is time the world woke up to the price of unhealthy diets.

Consumers International and the global consumer rights movement are calling for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to develop a global treaty to support consumers’ rights to healthy food. A global treaty would:

  • Reduce very high levels of fat, salt and sugar in everyday foods
  • Reduce the marketing of junk food to children
  • Provide clear nutrition labelling to help consumers choose a healthy diet
  • Improve the standards of food served in public institutions such as schools and hospitals

Click on the support buttons and join our call for a #FoodTreatyNow to support consumers’ rights to healthy food.

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Public Notice

The Council is iniviting interested persons to join our Community Consumer Network Group (CCAG) on a voluntary basis.

Click below for more information:

Click here.

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Public Notice

Information on Suva Private hospital's 24 hour service commencing on Februaruy 2, 2015.

Click below to acces the Public Notice published.

Click here

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Public Notice

Information on Water Authority of Fiji services (Free water supply)

Click below to access the Customer Information Form

Click here

Click below to access the Usage Allowance Form

Click here

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The Fijian Government Free Medicine Program.

Click  below for the list.


List of Medicine

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PRESS STATEMENT

Clarification on Price Increase Post-Budget Announcement

The Consumer Council of Fiji is reminding traders to be honest and sell old stock at the old price as duty on old stock was already paid before the budget announcement on 21st November 2014.

This reminder comes after the Council’s three regional offices were flooded with queries from the consumers who experienced immediate price increases on goods following the budget announcement last Friday.

The price increases on all imported alcohol, tobacco and cigarettes by 10 % after the 2015 national budget announcement comes into effect when there is delivery of new stock after the budget announcement. If a retailer is selling these products from his old stock then it must be sold at the old retail price.

According to [Fiji Revenue & Customs Authority] Public Circular No. 9 of 2014, the duty rates and other changes relating to the Customs Tariff Act shall apply to goods arriving for the first time in Fiji by ship or aircraft, after midnight, Thursday 20th November, 2014. The mentioned time and date also applies to goods relating to changes to the Excise Act.

The duty rates shall also apply for goods removed for home consumption fromWarehouses, Inland Freight Stations (IFS) (un-cleared cargo), Cargo Freight Station (CFS) Tax Free Factories / Tax Free Zones, Duty Suspension Scheme firms, Excise factories and all un-cleared cargo after midnight, Thursday 20th November, 2014.

The new price only applies when the retailer pays new rate of duty on the new stock of these items arriving for the first time in Fiji by ship or aircraft, after midnight, Thursday 20th November, 2014.

In other words, all un-cleared cargo after midnight, Thursday, 20th November, 2014 will be charged new duty rate by FRCA which will be passed on to consumers as “increase in price”.
For more information you can visit FRCAs website- http://www.frca.org.fj/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Custom-Budget-Circular.pdf

The same applies to other luxury items which had a duty increase of 32 %. These items are: perfumes, cosmetics, shaving, or after shave preparations, Camera’s and Camcorders, sunglass, binoculars, video & electronic games, watches, iPods, MP3 and MP4 players and Jewellery.

Retailers must uphold business ethics and fair trade practice and do the right thing and not hoodwink the consumers by increasing the price of old stock where duty was already paid before the budget announcement.
 


 


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