Press Releases 2008

10/09/2008 16:27:33 Scrutinise gas industry before price increase

The Consumer Council of Fiji is calling on the Prices and Incomes Board (PIB) to scrutinise the gas industry in Fiji before thinking of approving any increase in the price of gas. The Council’s call comes following PIB’s announcement of a possible increase in the price of cooking gas from the current $41 (FS 10/9). Discussion surrounding the regulation of gas price in Fiji is still being deliberated on by the PIB, and hence, the Council believes that it is premature to announce any increase at this stage.

10/09/2008 15:13:50 Copper coins on their way out

The Consumer Council of Fiji has been engaged in meetings with the Reserve Bank of Fiji over the past weeks to discuss the effect on consumers of the federal banks decision to cease the issue of 1-cent and 2-cent coins from 13th October 2008. This means that new lowest denomination in Fiji’s Currency Structure will be the 5-cents. In January 2009, RBF will additionally cease to issue the existing 5-cents, 10-cents, 20-cents, 50-cents and $1 coins as these will be replaced by new coins, which will be smaller and lighter. Until 31 March 2009, the old coins will continue to be accepted as legal tender and can be used for payment of goods and services. However, come 1 April 2009, old coins will not be accepted for payment of goods and services - 1c and 2c coins will cease while 5c,10c,20c,50c and $1 coins will be replaced with new look coins.

09/09/2008 15:57:58 PBS customers query fees

Customers of the Pacific Broadcasting Services Ltd (PBS) are unhappy with the newly introduced fees they are required to come up with when paying for their monthly PBS subscription at the Post Office. According to the PBS CEO, Simon Fong, the $3 administration fee has been introduced to encourage its customers to switch to the direct debit method of paying their bill. The direct debit method is where customer’s bills are deducted directly from their bank accounts, which is then cleared by the PBS office before being transferred to the head office in Sydney. In addition, the direct debit option is said to be an effective cost cutting measure, as PBS staff are not required to prepare receipts manually. From the 6,000 PBS customers, some 4,000 have opted for this method of payment of their bills.

03/09/2008 10:13:29 Council calls for the review of Third Party Claim

The Consumer Council of Fiji is calling on the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to review the claim amount in the Compulsory Third Party. Under the current provision there exists a limit to liability on public service vehicle CTP claims. These are $4,000 per person or $40,000 for all passengers collectively.

25/08/2008 15:09:17 Council wants Independent redress system

Fiji Law Society [FLS], a self-regulated body has finally confessed that legal service in Fiji lacks professional ethics and responsibility. It simply has failed to meet a level of service delivery a consumer desires or pays for.

11/07/2008 11:35:21 Enforce provision on bus fare tickets

The Consumer Council of Fiji appreciates the decision by the interim administration not to increase bus fares and instead absorb the cost by providing added concession to bus operators. While the government of the day is expected to fulfil its social obligation to consumers, bus operators are equally expected to become responsible in the manner they conduct and account their business through full disclosure of operational costs. The Council additionally lauds the administration for providing travel relief to senior citizens.

03/07/2008 11:36:39 Council seeks review of transportation policies

The Consumer Council of Fiji finds it difficult to understand the dire financial circumstances the bus operators argue they are in amid the decision to cease services to consumers this morning. The rationale to take strike action as a form of retaliation following the delay in receiving a response from LTA on their proposed bus fare hike is hard to comprehend. If indeed bus companies were genuinely struggling, strike would not have been an option. The Council views the strike as an intimidating tactic by the bus operators.

19/06/2008 16:29:25 Ban Incandescent Light Bulbs

The Consumer Council of Fiji has been keenly following the Fiji Electricity Authority’s attempts to strategise its operations in order to make the Company more cost-effective in this current economic climate given the spiralling fuel costs and its adverse impact on the operational costs. In due course, the power supplier has taken drastic measures such as downsizing human resource by laying off a number of staff that will undoubtedly prove detrimental to their families and their survival in these financially challenging times.

12/06/2008 16:14:02 USP decides against penalising students

A number of concerned parents and guardians including students attending the University of the South Pacific have lodged their distress with the Consumer Council of Fiji regarding penalisation of students who have inability to meet academic fees on time.

10/06/2008 16:24:41 Fuel price decrease causing confusion to Consumers when World Price has fallen drastically

The Consumer Council of Fiji received complaints from the consumers

02/05/2008 15:55:50 Complaints against Fiji TV pour in

Fiji TV consumers, particularly in the Northern areas in Taveuni and Labasa are venting their frustration about poor quality and disrupted services. They are increasingly contacting the Council to voice their frustration and disappointment, mostly over telephone. These consumers want Fiji TV to stop depriving them of quality service on Fiji TV’s free to air Fiji One channel. The Fiji TV continues to be the dominant player in an open market and it has now captured the South Pacific region.

11/04/2008 15:37:43 Rice is in Stock: do not panic

The Consumer Council of Fiji is advicing consumers not to panic regarding rice shortage. A review of rice supply by the Council shows there is enough rice in the supermarkets around Fiji except in the MH stores.

10/04/2008 12:27:49 Council Calls for Inkk to Come Clean

Consumer Council of Fiji is clear on its stand that Inkk is not what it appears to be – that is, a new player in the market to create competition. Rather it appears to be an extension of Vodafone services except Inkk is created as a separate company to mislead our ordinary consumers.

08/04/2008 12:29:17 INKK must be investigated

The launch of new mobile phone company INKK in November 2007 brought relief to the consumers who wanted choice in the marketplace. Because of the perceived competition in the market, consumers could now expect better service delivery from INKK if they were experiencing difficulties with the monopoly service provider – Vodafone.

04/04/2008 12:14:28 Council calls for change in Electricity Act to protect consumers

It is rather interesting to note that FEA conducted its own investigation to prove that FEA is not negligent to end the matter on recent power surge along QEB in Nasese that caused financial loss to consumers who lost their appliances. In this case the FEA was the judge and the jury. An investigation conducted by their own staff cleared FEA of any negligence. How can a power supply company with monopoly status regulate themselves by law? Where is the role of the State to protect consumers in the Electricity Act (Cap 180). Consumers in Nasese have lost thousands of dollars worth of appliances which they bought over the year’s through their hard earned money. Unfortunately nothing can be done claims FEA.

28/03/2008 15:01:42 Second Hand Vehicles

The Second Hand Car Dealers (SHCD) should realise that the fortunes made at the expense of the consumers are over. We had seen proliferation of second hand car dealers doing business from their residential areas in the midst of no where. It happened because of the laxity in the system as well as no regard to consumer frustration. Now the rules have change, which is hurting the SHCD.

12/03/2008 15:25:19 Soaring food prices concern consumers

Soaring food price rise has played havoc with household finances. Consumers are feeling the pinch as they have noticed that the weekly supermarket bill is getting larger while the trolley load is getting smaller.

04/03/2008 15:08:13 Inflation Rate Understated

The Consumer Council believes that the inflation rate of 7.4% reported by the RBF could be higher.

04/03/2008 15:06:13 Inflation rate is rising at a quicker pace than the wages of the consumers

RBF reported inflation to be at 7.4 percent in January, the highest rate since 1998.

02/02/2008 15:36:00 PIB keeps consumers in the dark

Oblivious to Fiji consumers, the Prices and Incomes Board on 24 April, 2008 had determined new pricing for rice millers’ wholesale delivered price for the Australian Calrose and Thai Long Grain products. Understandably, the revised prices are meant for the manufactures of the products and PIB has not seen the need to inform consumers of the increase.

Press Releases 2008 40-60 »