Exclusionary Notices a Cause for Concern

19/08/2021 10:01

Most businesses are adjusting to the new normal by transforming their business processes and utilizing digital platforms to advertise and retail their products. However, the Consumer Council of Fiji’s (CCoF) Chief Executive Officer Ms Seema Shandil says trading in the digital sphere does not mean that businesses can resort to practices which infringes on the rights of consumers and places undue burden and distress on them. Ms Shandil made this comment after the Council discovered a high number of businesses on online shopping platforms – especially on social media platforms displaying exclusionary notices.

Whilst the Council encourages and commends businesses for digitizing their services and increasing consumer convenience, continuous monitoring of online trading platforms including social media such as Facebook and Instagram by CCoF has revealed an astonishing amount of advertisements with exclusionary clauses such as ‘no refunds’ and ‘no returns’. 41 such cases of businesses displaying exclusionary clauses were discovered and resolved by CCoF between 8 June to 16 August 2021.

“Generally, consumers have a right to a redress in the form of repair, replacement or refund when there is a major problem with something they bought.  Retailers must ensure that the right to redress is in no way diminished when retailing online and accord the same level of consumer protection and services as they would provide in the traditional market space.”, said Ms Shandil.

Businesses are also reminded that it is imperative that all goods retailed must be of merchantable quality, reasonably fit for the purpose made for and should match the sample that was shown to the consumer. Adhering to these business principles will not only build consumer confidence and trust but also minimize requests for redress – as consumers will be satisfied with the products and services.

Consumers coming across businesses displaying exclusionary notices either on digital shopping platforms or in-store are encouraged to lodge a complaint using the toll-free number 155 or through the Consumer Council of Fiji mobile app.