‘Exclusive Dealings’ Illegal; Schools Reminded

April 15, 2022

School Heads and Managements are once again reminded that it is illegal to engage in ‘exclusive dealings’ with businesses for the supply of students’ school requirements. This is after the Council received complaints where certain schools explicitly told parents to procure school uniforms from a specific trader. Consumer Council of Fiji (CCoF) Chief Executive Officer Ms Seema Shandil says the hallmark of exclusive dealings is that it disallows competition; leaving consumers with no choice but to purchase from a single trader often resulting in hiked prices.

“In exclusive dealings the selected trader (by the school) sets the price of school items such as uniforms. As a result, parents and guardians cannot look elsewhere for a bargain. This is because their choice has been restricted by schools,” said Ms Shandil.

Exclusive dealings tend to create exclusive products which in turn makes the supplier more powerful in the marketplace. This will then ultimately lead to anticompetitive behaviour by certain traders – in most cases this affects consumers as they are required to dig deeper into their pockets to pay the relevant price.

Consumers are urged to notify the Council of any such instances if they feel that schools are colluding with businesses for profit to become exclusive suppliers of products. Any concerns can be raised via the Consumer Council of Fiji Toll Free Helpline 155. Alternatively, consumers can lodge a complaint via the Consumer Council of Fiji Mobile App or email complaints@consumersfiji.org