Press Releases 2009
Pacific Sun, Fiji’s only domestic airline, continues to use its dominant position to dictate domestic air travel and nothing is being done by the authorities to stop the airline from making inconsiderate decisions which affects the consumers. The reports in the media today on Pacific Sun passengers bound for Lakeba seeking help from police to sort out problems with their luggage is another example of the airline being indifferent to consumers needs. What is sad is that nothing is being done by the authorities to hold the domestic carrier responsible and compensate for consumer’s losses.
THE Consumer Council has found that there is very little or no competition at all in the retail pharmaceutical sector and consumers are suffering from high prices and lack of choice.
THE decision by Coca-Cola Amatil Fiji to remove all Coca-Cola full-sugar sparkling beverages in primary schools nationwide by 2010 must be commended.
The Consumer Council lodged formal complaint against MH’s Flash and Gain loyalty program to Commerce Commission yesterday to protect vulnerable consumers from a program which is rather disloyal to its customers. Whilst MH claims that the Flash & Gain Loyalty program is a reward system for its customers for their loyalty and continuing patronage, it was admitted by MH that it is more of a moneymaking venture. If this is the case MH has misled their loyal customers by promoting it as a “loyalty program”.
The Consumer Council of Fiji is compelled to forewarn consumers, to be cautious while spending this festive season. As mandated to safeguard and educate consumers of their interests, the Council advices consumers to be mindful of their extravagant spending since the cost of living has gone up after Fiji dollar devaluation. There are families still dealing with the adverse effect of cyclone Mick and most importantly other expenses for the month of January is unavoidable.
Most family budgets are stretched very tight during the Christmas and New Year holiday. Christmas are celebrated with the giving and receiving of gifts which in fact should not result in a situation where consumers continue to pay debt for the entire next year? Council is urging consumers to exercise caution and common sense. Consumers need to practice prudence in shopping and avoid wastage as right after the festivities is back to school and people need to save money for their children’s education which is more important.
The Consumer Council of Fiji is urging shop owners and the supermarkets to refrain from selling food items affected by cyclone Mick. During the cyclone, the power failure was experienced in the whole of western and part of central division and there are areas still without any electricity. The advice comes following past experiences of post cyclone clean-up by some supermarkets where unscrupulously attempt to rid products that are salvaged from flood waters by putting them on sale to consumers.
THE Consumer Council is concerned with the Suva City Council’s new garbage levy of $25 per annum per bin, pursuant to Section 17 of the Suva Garbage Disposal By-Laws 2009 under Public Health Act Cap 111 which comes into effect from January 2010.
THE Consumer Council is now warning consumers on the continuous sale of ILLEGAL AND UNREGISTERED pesticides sold in parts of Suva, the western and northern division.
The Consumer Council sees the 2010 Budget to be unconventional yet refreshing and practical. The 2010 Budget was prepared with the view to take the country forward. Instead of alleviating poverty through blanket remedies the government has provided a more targeted approach such as the introduction of a $10000 home grant for new home owners and a $30 additional food allowance for those receiving Social Welfare benefits, to name a few. Now the onus is on respective institutions to ensure the disadvantaged consumers receive these benefits without red tape and mismanagement.
The Consumer Council is emphatic that the laws on Third Party Insurance must be reformed in line with the intent and objective of the law, which is to safeguard and protect third party victims from a vehicle accident.
The Consumer Council applauds the sound decision made by the Commerce Commission to regulate termination calls between telecommunication companies here in Fiji.
The Consumer Council of Fiji would like to clear the confusion amongst the consumers on the removal of price control. Following reports in the media today on removal of 146 items from Price Control, the Council was inundated with telephone calls from several concerned and panicked consumers who assumed that all items under Price Control had been completely removed.
Vodafone’s latest promotions Recharge Bonanza gives the impression that consumers recharging for $5 would get $10 free credit, $33 free credit for $11 recharge, $60 free credit for $15 and $125 free credit for $25 recharge. However, the Consumer Council of Fiji would like to caution the consumers not to get lured by such promotions as it is misleading.
The Consumer Council Fiji is calling on all relevant stakeholders to accord reasonable and fair compensation to victims of road accidents by putting in place proper redress mechanisms.
Vodafone’s “O” rental product which is a Post-pay contract on a fixed minimum period of 2 years is unfair. This contract contains exit penalty fees of $140 (VEP) per connection including an extra penalty for any free handsets (mobile phones) given to consumers as a means to make the product attractive. Therefore, on top of paying $140 per connection, each free phone that Vodafone gives away as part of the product deal is also subject to a pro-rata calculation based on the 24 months usage and price of the handset. So, if the cost of the mobile phone is $200, and a consumer decides to terminate the contract after 12 months, then the consumer will have to pay $100 for the remaining months for not using the phone.
It has come to the attention of the Consumer Council of Fiji that some institutes are engaging sales agents to sell their courses door to door.
An engagement of convenience had been embarked by the Consumer council and a major service provider in our country, FEA.
THE grace period for traders to clean up their act of selling damaged or expired food items is over and the time has come for regulators to crack the whip.
CHRISTMAS season is here and many consumers are looking for cheap deals. The Consumer Council, however, is gravely concerned with misleading advertisements that is rife in the mass media during this festive season.