Council alerts consumers to be cautious on spending

23/12/2009 10:57

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.  

Festivals have always been marked with shopping and merry making, thus giving and receiving gifts has become the culture. It is therefore, important to plan how you will use the finances. A realistic budget and the will to follow are needed.  This is a financially difficult and challenging time which calls for prudent and responsible consumers. In this critical time consumers must understand and learn to differentiate their needs from wants. Hence, when shopping this festive season they should concentrate on providing for their family needs and not to be trapped into purchasing products flashed in persuasive advertisements or proving to your neighbours that you can also spend money. This can result in buying goods on hire purchase without analyzing your financial position or how the payments will be met.  

The Council through its regular market surveillance has noted that, consumers now have to fork out extra as compared to 2008 when buying similar items. For example, if a consumer buys four goods namely 4 kg sharps, 1kg onions, 170g Tuna Sun Bell and 1kg Lamb chops will cost him/her $22.59 BUT the same goods in December 2008 could be bought for $15. This means that consumers are paying $7.22 extra this year.

Prices

Item

2008

2009

Sharps 4kg

5.11

6.53

Onions 1kg

1.75

2.29

Tuna Sun Bell 170g

0.85

0.98

Lamb chops 1kg

7.66

12.79

Total

15.37

22.59

Source: Consumer Council of Fiji market surveillance report

This should be evident enough for consumers to be cautious on their spending specially on wants as the price of basic necessities has increased.

The Council further emphasises on the importance of exercising consumer responsibility when out for Christmas shopping. Consumers are reminded to collect receipts of all their purchases and seek prior information and knowledge of the product they intend to buy. Consumers are also advised to read through the terms and conditions if buying goods on hire purchase. Ask as many questions as possible to the trader such as after sales service, guarantee/ warrantee period etc.

Traders are also urged to practice social responsibility and be mindful of the consumer protecting laws.