Insurance on goods

27/07/2018 15:33

The Consumer Council of Fiji strongly urges consumers to take insurance on items bought either on cash or on hire purchase to cover against the risk of losing them in unforeseen circumstances.

 While some hire purchase agreements cover insurance at an added cost to consumers other agreements require consumers to make their own arrangements. Either way, it enables consumers to claim for compensation should they face a circumstance such as fire or theft.

 A recent case reported to the Council demonstrates clearly the benefits of Insurance. The case involves a Davuilevu couple who lost all their belongings in a house fire in 2016.

 In October 2016, the couple bought several items on hire purchase from Carpenters worth

$5,854.83. Sadly, two months later their home was razed to the ground and the couple was forced to reside with relatives.

 The couple had failed to make any payments on the hire purchase. They had also committed to arranging for insurance cover on the items but did not follow through on this agreement. And because of this they were not covered against the risk of loss during the tenure of the hire purchase agreement.

 The trader had instituted legal proceedings against the couple due to continuous defaulted payments and last month they were ordered by the Suva Magistrate Court to pay in full the items they took on hire purchase.

 The Council implores consumers to insure the goods they purchase, whether they are bought on cash or hire purchase. While this may be an added cost, it will protect the consumer from any adverse financial consequences in case the items are destroyed.

 It is therefore advisable for consumers to save up for insurance payments and consider this added expense when buying items on Hire Purchase.

It is also imperative that consumers read agreements or contracts thoroughly before signing.

 Some traders require that consumers sign agreements that indicate they are not liable for insurance absolving themselves of any responsibility should something untoward occur.

 Consumers are also urged to seek the Council's assistance at the earliest should they come across similar situations.

 The Council has a Debt Management and Advisory services division which provides an integrated counselling service that empowers and assists consumers who are overwhelmed with debt.

 The Council also advises consumers that it is preferable to save first & buy goods with those savings as they can then negotiate better cash deals.

 Consumers can contact us by calling our toll free helpline 155 or emailing complaints@consumersfiji.org