Council survey uncovers further price gouging by HOMES-CARE Vendors

21/05/2018 12:44

A Consumer Council of Fiji regional survey has uncovered more cases of price gouging by HOMES- CARE assistance vendors.

 The survey was conducted to gauge the impact of the HOMES-CARE Initiative on Prices of White Goods and the results paint a poor picture of some vendors working under the HOMES-CARE initiative.

 During the survey, prices of 28 household items- including televisions, rice cookers, washing machines and chest freezers- were recorded and their price fluctuations noted.

Of the 28 household items surveyed, only 11 were selling at the same prices they were advertised on previously.

 Many items which were previously advertised on special or discounted prices were now being sold again at normal prices.

 At Courts Homecentres several goods that were previously advertised for lower special prices have now returned to their normal prices

 A Kambrook 8Cup Rice Express Cooker was advertised on Special for $109 from initial price of $129. But at the time of the survey it had increased again to $129.

 A Hisense 36litre Microwave was advertised in December for $349 but when the price was checked in the survey it had increased to $399.

 In the Northern Division, the same trader had a Hisense 157litre Single Door Fridge promoted for a special at $529 on 21st April 2018. But at the time of the survey it had returned to the normal price of $629.

 A Simmons 200litre Chest Freezer previously advertised at a special price of $859 was found to be sold instore for an increased price of $899 by the same vendor.

 But the North and Western Division were not the only areas where prices of these goods were increased.

 This suggests that HOMES-CARE traders are attempting to cover all bases and take advantage of those who may seek to purchase their goods outside of the divisions affected.

 Home and Living in the Central Division had a Simmons 200litre Chest Freezer previously advertised at a special price of $859 however this was sold instore for an increased price of $899.

Also in the Central Division MH Homemaker had advertised a Philips 10Cup Rice Cooker on it’s website for a special price of $109. The current instore price was $119.

 Courts in the Central Division had a Hisense 12kg Twin Tub Washing Machine advertised on a special price of $629 on 15th April 2018. At the time of the survey the price had returned to it’s normal price of $709.

 The same vendor had a Hisense 5kg Twin Tub Washing Machine advertised on a special price of $329 on 15th April 2018 but the price had returned to $375 when this survey was conducted.

There was also a Hisense 32” Smart HD LED TV previously advertised at a special price of $599 from a price of $699 but had it’s price increased to $749.

 It seems traders are taking advantage of the huge demand by a large number of households that have money loaded cards buying under Governments home care initiative.

 And what is more disconcerting is that prices were offered at discounted prices during happy occasion such as Mother’s Day sale, Mad March Sale etc, but the same special offers were not extended to people at a critical times when they are trying to rebuild their lives after suffering from a couple of natural disasters.

 Some items that were on special by as late as April had returned to normal prices in early May when the Government started to select traders and rolled out the Home Care Initiative.

These traders under the HOMES-CARE initiative need to realise that they also have a social responsibility to fulfil.

The assistance that Government has given will help rebuild the lives of those affected and HOMES-CARE traders should see this as an opportunity to fulfil their social responsibility.

 The Consumer Council of Fiji also acknowledges that there are HOMES-CARE vendors who are assisting consumers in getting maximum value for money.

 Subrails Furniture had maintained their prices or dropped them further and should serve as an example for other HOMES-CARE vendors. Also Home and Living to great extent maintained its discounted price. For more information see annex (attached).

 The Consumer Council of Fiji encourages consumers to call our toll-free National Consumer Helpline on 155 should they require assistance.

 

APPENDIX 1

 

 

APPENDIX

1. Western

 

 

Price NOW

Recently Advertised

Comments

 

Courts

 

 

 

Kambrook

8Cup Express Rice Cooker

$129

FB

13/10/17

$109

 

 

5Cup Master Rice Cooker

$89

FB

27/4/18

$99

Advertisement was for April 2018 'Specials' reduced from 99

Hisense

36L Microwave

$399

FB

12/12/17

349

Advertisement did not mention any 'Specials'

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subrails

 

 

 

Sheffield

1.5litre Rice Cooker

$69

FB

15/12/17

$69

 

 

Slow Cooker

$189

FB

15/12/17

$189

 

 

Tower Fan

$99

FB

15/12/17

$99

 

 

30cm Desk Fan

$59

FB

10/3/18

$45

Ad was for Specials valid until 30/03/18 reduced from normal 59

 

1.7litre Stainless Steel Cordless Kettle

$75

FB

15/12/17

$75

 

Alpine

5PC Dining Set

$649

FB

10/03/18

$699

Price reduced from advertised

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home & Living

 

 

 

Samsung

5.5kg Top Load Washing Machine

$999

FB

28/12/17

$999

Ad was a special price reduced from 1399

 

J2 Pro Smart Phone

$499

FB

11/05/18

$499

 

 

J5 Pro Smart Phone

$599

FB

11/05/18

$599

 

 

J7 Pro Smart Phone

$799

FB

11/05/18

$799

 

Alpha

4 Burner Cooktop Glasstop Cooker

$369

FB

05/01/18
$459

Current instore price reduced further from ad price

 

2. Northern

 

 

 

Price NOW

Recently Advertised

Comments

 

Courts

 

 

 

Hisense

157litre Single Door Fridge

$629

Customer Receipt 21/04/18 $529

Special Prices offered in April was 529, and customers were even offered more reduction until $495 - Prices returned to normal ($629) in 2 weeks

 

 

   

 

DECORA

1.6 x 2.3m RUG -

$237

Customer Receipt 21/04/18

$205

Special Prices offered in April was $205, and customers were offered further reductions to as low as $189 - Prices returned to normal ($237) in 2 weeks

 

 

   

 

STEVE

Bunk Bed

$419

Customer Receipt 21/04/18 379

Special Prices were obtained from a customer's receipt in April - Prices returned to normal in 2 weeks

 

 

3. Central

 

 

Price NOW

Recently Advertised

Comments

 

Courts

 

 

 

Kambrook

1.7 Litre Profile Kettle

$139

FS

11/01/18 $109

Ad was a special price reduced from normal price of 139

Singer

1.7Litre Plastic Kettle

$55

FS

13/01/18     $55

 

 

1.7 L Stainless Kettle

$99

FT 16/04/18     $99

 

Hiesense

12kg Twin Tub Washing Machine

$709

FB Ad 15/04/18 $629

Ad was a special price reduced from normal price of 709

 

9kg Twin Tub Washing Machine

$615

FS

06/01/18 $539

Ad was a special price reduced from normal price of 615

 

7kg Twin Tub Washing Machine

$519

FS

06/01/18 $409

Ad was a special price reduced from normal price of 519

 

5kg Twin Tub Washing Machine

$375

FB Ad 15/04/18 $329

Ad was a special price reduced from normal price of 375

Hisense

32" Smart HD LED TV Set

$749

FS

19/01/18   $599

 

 

 

   

 

 

Home & Living

   

 

Simmons

200litre Chest Freezer

$899

FB - 12/12/17 $859

 

Pensonic

Single Burner Gas Stove

$39

FT 08/03/18     $39

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MH Homemaker

 

 

 

Philips

10Cup Rice Cooker

$119

MH Online Store Webpage    $109

Ad is currently on the webpage