Consumer Denied Hire Purchase Insurance

19/04/2021 09:04

Certain terms and conditions of extended insurance on hire purchase by businesses has been labelled as unfair, prejudicial and a breach of consumer rights by the Consumer Council of Fiji.

This comes after the Council discovered that certain businesses are placing restrictions on consumers rights to utilize their extended insurance for hire purchase products with the unacceptable excuse that the product was being used by someone else.

In a recent case brought to the Council’s attention, a parent had bought a smart phone for her child on hire purchase. The phone developed some issues after purchase hence the consumer sought the trader’s assistance to repair the phone as it was under extended insurance. The Consumer was then informed that the phone cannot be repaired under extended insurance as the extended insurance will only apply if the purchaser of the phone is using it.

CCoF Chief Executive Ms Seema Shandil says such arbitrary acts by businesses is unethical as children and other dependents rely on their parents or heads of households for their needs and wants and subjecting them to different terms and conditions is prejudicial.

“Parents and guardians are the custodians of their children and are responsible for providing for their children’s needs and wants and this should not warrant them to unfair market practices. By imposing such conditions on consumers, businesses are implying that parents cannot purchase products on hire purchase for their children and other dependents” said Ms Shandil.

Ms Shandil has further stressed that such extended insurance applies to the product rather than the user. Regardless of who uses the product in the family, extended insurance still applies to it. By using such tactics, businesses are effectively denying consumers product insurance which they are legally entitled to.

The Council is warning businesses that they cannot subject consumers to erroneous terms and conditions and is reminding businesses engaging in such practices immediately amend their terms and conditions and provide redress to consumers affected by it.

Meanwhile consumers are also being advised to thoroughly read the terms and conditions of hire purchase agreements before signing. If consumers seek further advise or come across unfair market practices, they are encouraged to contact the Council on toll-free number 155 or lodge a complaint using the Consumer Council of Fiji mobile app.