Timber Cheaters

28/04/2017 14:43

The Consumer Council of Fiji is once again appealing to consumers to pay attention to details when purchasing and receiving items, particularly when dealing with timber.

The call comes in light of recent complaint(s) lodged with the Council regarding consumers not receiving timber products according to their specifications. In particular, consumers are concerned with the fact that despite placing orders for custom sizes they are being delivered varying sizes of timber.

 In one case at hand, a consumer ordered 33 pieces of 16ft (4.8m) 4” x 2” timbers but the company delivered 25 pieces of timber of varying lengths (running feet). Upon enquiry the company personnel reassured the consumer that some of the timber pieces are longer than others, hence, when added the total length of the timber meets the requirement. 

The consumer believed in the information being relayed and signed off on the delivery docket. However, he was in for a shock when the timbers were actually being put to use as it was insufficient to complete the fittings which the consumer initially purchased them for.

 To make matters worse, when the consumer raised his concerns with the company, he was told that his signature was on the delivery docket which proves that the goods were accepted.

The grievance(s) raised by the consumers prompted the Council to conduct a minor research with five (5) major timber traders in the Suva area to establish the cause of the problems.

 From the findings it was deduced that all the companies sell timber in running feet and only one company sells timber according to customers’ specified measurements.

 In other words, if consumers do not cross check the timbers delivered against their specified requirements, they may get fooled. Consumers should not blindly believe that the timbers delivered in running feet will match their requirements, rather, they should make efforts to measure the items if needed upon delivery. This will ensure their dollars’ worth.

Consumers need to exercise their line of responsibility as while the Sale of Goods Act 1985, section 31 (1) outlines that if sellers deliver to the buyer a quantity of goods less than he contracted to sell, the buyer may reject them, however, it further states that if the buyer accepts the goods so delivered, he must pay for them at the contract rate.

Post payment when consumers contest the supplied items, the process may become cumbersome and costly as it will have to go through the court system.

Hence, the Council is calling on consumers to be vigilant when accepting goods from the sellers be it for any product(s). If they have doubts with the supplied quantity they should verify their uncertainties properly to their satisfaction prior to proceeding with payments.