Outdated fine payment records disrupt consumer travel

09/05/2018 15:53

The Consumer Council of Fiji strongly urges organisations to update its fine payment records appropriately and keep all relevant stakeholders informed so that consumers do not face unwarranted disruptions during their travels.

This call comes in light of a recent case whereby a man was stopped twice at the international airport whilst travelling out of Fiji, despite clearing his fine.

The complainant was fined for carrying apples in his luggage on a trip to Tuvalu in 2016, which he cleared within 7 days. In 2017, the complainant was travelling to India from Fiji when he was stopped from boarding the plane. He was informed by officers at the airport that he had outstanding fees to pay.

Despite informing them that he had cleared the fine, the officers could not verify this on their record system, as it had not been updated. The complainant had to call his wife in Suva to send a scanned copy of the fine clearance receipt. Only after this unnecessary hassle was the complainant allowed to travel.

The second incident transpired this year where the complainant was travelling to Vanuatu. Officers at the airport stopped the complainant and questioned him about the fines. Feeling frustrated and embarrassed, he lodged a complaint at the Council. Through the Council’s intervention, the complainant’s name was removed from the stop departure list.

Whilst the complainant was only given 7 days to clear the fine, the Council is appalled it took the organisation 2 years to update its records.

There may be many more travellers who might be facing similar problems where the information is not updated by the respective organisations.

The organisations must update their records accordingly to avoid loss of more money, time and resources of consumers.