Duty Free Shops Continue to Breach Laws

13/08/2012 08:59

The Consumer Council calls on duty free shops in the Western Division to exercise responsibility.

The Council has received more complaints on faulty products sold at the duty free shops in the first 6 months of 2012 when compared with whole of last year.  11 complaints were registered against duty free shops in 2011 while a total of 13 complaints have been noted as of July this year.

Faulty mobile products top the complaints list for duty free shops on issues such as keypads not working within 1 week of purchase, handset switching off by itself, trader charging for repair and courier costs of faulty phone, phone speaker developing faults within 10 days of purchase, traders selling fake Nokia mobile handset with packaging stating, ‘Made by Dickson International Trading Co, Ltd’, traders deducting VAT and other administration cost while providing refund for faulty mobile phone.

The Council reminds traders that the Sales of Goods Act [Cap 230] (Fiji), which states that goods sold must be fit for the purpose, must be adhered. Section 114 of Commerce Commission Decree 2010 (Fiji) clearly states that goods sold must be of merchantable quality. A trader is liable to provide redress to the consumers if this provision is breached rather than burdening the consumer with any additional charges.  

Out of 13 complaints received, traders provided redress to 8 complaints after the Council’s intervention. The unresolved cases were referred to other consumer protection agencies and Small Claims Tribunal.

It is a common practice for duty free shops to be rude and aggressive when consumers seek redress. This attitude must stop.  

Most of the duty free shops also fail to issue receipts for the items they are selling. The non–issuance of receipt is a direct breach of Regulation 7 as per section 84 of the Value added Tax Decree 1991:

“(7) Notwithstanding any other regulation, a supplier shall not unless requested by the recipient be required to provide a tax invoice if the consideration in money for a supply does not exceed ten dollars or such amount as the Minister may from time to time, by Legal Notice declare”.

Meanwhile, the Council is advising consumers to be careful while shopping for items especially mobile phones from duty free gift shops in the Western Division. Consumers are advised to demand for receipts and understand the terms and conditions including the warranty period.