Do Not Punish Customer Loyalty

13/04/2017 15:25

 04 January 2017

 Do Not Punish Customer Loyalty

The Council notes the statement by Carpenters Finance in the Fiji Times dated 3rd January 2017 and wishes to respond to the same.

The Council reiterates that the decision to implement this unfair fee should be recalled completely, as it will punish the loyalty of about 11,000 Money LINK customers.

It must be noted that the Council did meet with Carpenters Finance on 7th October 2016 to understand the necessity of the fee. The explanations provided by Carpenters Finance had only suggested that the implementation of the fee was to cover for the operating expenditures. There were no discussions on how the matter is to be resolved for the benefit of the several consumers who would be affected by the unilateral decision of the service provider. Carpenters Finance had sent out “unsigned letters” to its customers notifying them of the implementation of the monthly administration fee. This issue was also on the agenda of the said meeting.

The Council understands that much like the banks, such operational expenditures can be sufficiently covered by the collection of the annual fee alone, which is $40 for the Silver and Gold cards and $60 for the Platinum card. Banks do not charge a specific monthly fee on their credit card accounts despite having intricate customer services to deal with.

The Money LINK card operates just like any other credit card issued by the banks. The only difference is that the Money LINK card can specifically be used at Carpenters Fiji Limited outlets. Apparently, banks’ credit card deals with a more complex range of local and foreign outlets.Therefore, a monthly charge of $2.50 is not justified for Carpenters Fiji Ltd.

The Council believes that Carpenters Finance is attempting to unfairly increase its profit base by deliberately taking advantage of the lack of proper controls and regulations in the credit sector that is applicable to its Money LINK cards. Carpenters Finance cannot take advantage of the absence of proper regulation to make a quick profit.

The Council has also written to the Ministry of Economy on the issue seeking its urgent intervention to protect consumer interests.

In the meantime, consumers are urged to lodge their complaints at the Council to rally behind the call to prevent this implementation. Consumers can call on our National Consumer Helpline number, 155 to lodge their formal complaints.