The Consumer Council of Fiji (CCoF) is an independent statutory body established under the Consumer Council of Fiji Act -1976 (Cap 235). The Council, as a watchdog protects the rights and interests of consumers by promoting a fair and just delivery of goods and services.
The Consumer Council is primarily an advocacy organization, conducting rigorous research and policy analysis on key consumer issues. CCoF’s insight into consumer need is a powerful tool for influencing decision-makers to bring about change. The Council protects the vulnerable groups such as rural poor, physically and mentally challenged, children and women by identifying and articulating the policy issues that are of importance to the consumers.
To build a society of informed and responsible consumers in which everyone is treated fairly, obtains value for money and is able to exercise their consumer rights
Make consumer voice heard and make it count.
The Council is committed to achieving positive change for consumers.
As a small organization with limited resources, the Council plays an active role as a catalyst and facilitator for positive change in the marketplace in a professional, impartial and ethical manner. The Council believes in campaigning fearlessly to change the policies and practices that adversely affect consumer interests; maintain a highly disciplined result-oriented focus that maximizes impact for consumers; maintain objectivity in resolving consumer complaints without fear or favor; and build a strong financial management and sound operating procedures.
The Council is committed to achieving positive change for consumers. As a small organization with limited resources, the Council will play an active role as a catalyst and facilitator for positive change in the marketplace. Everything that we do during the implementation of this Strategic Plan will reflect our core values. Professional, impartial and ethical in all our dealings. Accessible and helpful in sharing our knowledge. Transparent, accountable and consistent in our approach. Collaborative, innovative, proactive and focused on achieving outstanding results. Dedicated to learning, team work and mutual respect. Foster open and honest communication. Value new ideas and seek ways of doing things better.
Campaign fearlessly to change the policies and practices that adversely affect consumer interests; Maintain a highly disciplined result-oriented focus that maximises impact for consumers; Maintain objectivity in resolving consumer complaints without fear or favour; and Build a strong financial management and sound operating procedures.
The Consumer Council of Fiji (CCF) is a statutory body established under the Consumer Council Act (Cap 235). The Council, as a watchdog protects the rights and interests of consumers by promoting a fair and just delivery of goods and services. First and foremost, the Consumer Council is an advocacy organization, conducting rigorous research and policy analysis on key consumer issues. CCF’s insight into consumer need is a powerful tool for influencing decision-makers to bring about change. The Council protects the vulnerable groups such as rural poor, physically and mentally challenged, children and women by identifying and articulating the policy issues that are of importance to the consumers.3.2 Board members are appointed by the Minister for Industry and Trade for a term or terms as the Minister may determine.
The Chairperson of the Council reports to the Minister.The Board of Directors appoints the Chief Executive Officer to lead and manage the Council affairs within the legal framework and by maintaining high ethical standards.
From corporate governance perspective, a Board Charter is in place that sets the rules and procedures within which the Board functions.
Section 6 of the Consumer Council Act stipulates the functions of the Council. The Council is required to do such acts and things it considers necessary or expedient to ensure that the interests of the consumers of goods and services are promoted and protected. These functions include: Advising the Minister on such matters affecting the interests of the consumers; Making representations to the Government or to any other person/organizations on any issues affecting the interests of consumers; Collecting, collating and disseminating information in respect of matters affecting the interests of consumers; Supporting or maintaining legal proceedings initiated by a consumer, where such support is deemed necessary; Conducting research and investigations into matters affecting consumers; Advising and assisting consumers on matters affecting their interests; Co-operating with any person, association or organization outside Fiji having similar functions and becoming a member of or affiliate to any international organization concerned with consumer matters; and Soliciting and accepting for the purposes of the Council any money, land, or other property from the Government, any local authority, public body, organization, or person by way of grant, subsidy, donation, gift, or otherwise.
The Consumer Council Act1976 was amended in 1992 by Decree No 23. The amendment deleted a few key functions of the Council to promulgate the “Trade Standards and Quality Control Decree 1991”. Whether the amendment decree reduced the specifically listed functions to prevent the CCF from actually carrying out these functions is a matter of legal interpretation. As long as the amendment does not prohibit the carrying out of the three functions, the general power of the Council can be invoked to continue to carry out research, and/or examination or testing of goods and services, and receiving and acting on consumer complaints. The overriding function is to ‘do all such acts and things that it may consider necessary or expedient to ensure that the interests of consumers of goods and services are promoted and protected’ [s6 (1)]. The 1992 amendment to the Consumer Council Act seems to be redundant as consequential amendments were not made to the Act.
1. Campaigns, Information & Media Division
To empower consumers with knowledge and information to bring about reforms in policy and practice that adversely affect consumer interests.
2. Alternative Dispute Resolution & Consumer Advisory Division
To assist consumers in resolving complaints through alternative dispute resolution,advisory services and legal representation.
3. Research & Policy Analysis Division
To identify and undertake broad-based and complaints driven research on key consumer protection legislations that promote and protect consumer interests through necessary policy changes.
The Council is divided into three departments, each with its own distinguished function. These are:
CAMPAIGNS, INFORMATION & MEDIA – To empower consumers with knowledge and information to bring about reforms in policy and practice that adversely affect consumer interests.
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION & CONSUMER ADVISORY – To assist consumers in resolving complaints through alternative dispute resolution, advisory services and legal representation.
RESEARCH & POLICY ANALYSIS – To identify and undertake broad-based and complaints driven research on key consumer protection legislations that promote and protect consumer interests through necessary policy changes.
Since its establishment following the introduction of the Consumer Council of Fiji Act 1976, the Council has now become a household brand name in Fiji, giving rays of hope to Fijian consumers whose rights have been violated in the marketplace. As per the Consumer Council of Fiji Act 1976, the Council has powers to do such acts and things it considers necessary or expedient to ensure that the interests of the consumers are promoted and protected. These include:
Chief Executive Officer
Information and Media
Manager Alternative Dispute Resolution & Consumer Advisory
Manager Research and Policy Analysist, Research, Policy and Analysis Division
Manager Finance and Administration
Senior Research Officer
Research and Policy Analysis Division
Research and Debt Management Officer
Alternative Dispute Resolution and Consumer Advisory Division
Assistant Research Officer
Campaigns, Information and Media Division
Campaigns, Information and Media Officer
Assistant Consumer Officer
Project Assistant, Campaigns
Information and Media Division
Receptionist, Clerical and Administrative Officer
Consumer Helpline Officer
Alternative Dispute Resolution and Consumer Advisory
Complaint Management and Data Entry Officer
Alternative Dispute Resolution and Consumer Advisory & Administration
Asistant Administration Officer
Regional Coordinator Labasa
Regional Coordinator Lautoka
On 15 March, 1962, US President John F. Kennedy delivered a historic address to the US Congress in which he outlined his vision of consumer rights. This was the first time any politician had formerly set out such principles.
“Consumers by definition include us all, ” Kennedy said in his Congressional statement. They are the largest economic group , affecting and affected by almost every public and private economic decision. Yet they are the only important group…whose views are often not heard”
Over time, the consumer movement has developed this vision into a set of eight basic consumer rights which now define and inspire much of the work CI and its members do:
The right to satisfaction of basic needs – To have access to basic, essential goods and services: adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, education, public utilities, water and sanitation.
The right to safety – To be protected against products, production processes and services which are hazardous to health or life.
The right to be informed – To be given the facts needed to make an informed choice, and to be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising and labeling.
The right to choose – To be able to select from a range of products and services, offered at competitive prices with an assurance of satisfactory quality.
The right to be heard – To have consumer interests represented in the making and execution of government policy, and in the development of products and services.
The right to redress – To receive a fair settlement of just claims, including compensation for misrepresentation, shoddy goods or unsatisfactory services.
The right to consumer education – To acquire knowledge and skills needed to make informed, confident choices about goods and services, while being aware of basic consumer rights and responsibilities and how to act on them.
The right to a healthy environment -To live and work in an environment which is non-threatening to the well-being of present and future generations.
This set of eight consumer rights now guide the campaign and policy work of CI and consumer organizations in the world over.
Critical Awareness – the responsibility to be more alert and questioning about the price and quality of goods and services we use.
Action – the responsibility to assert ourselves and act to ensure that we get a fair deal. As long as we remain passive consumers we will be exploited.
Social concern – the responsibility to be aware of the impact of our consumption on other citizens, especially the disadvantaged or powerless groups whether in the local, national or international community.
Environmental Awareness – the responsibility to understand the environmental and other consequences of our consumption. We should recognize our individual and social responsibility to conserve natural resources and protect the earth for future generations.
Solidarity – the responsibility to organize together as consumers to develop the strength and influence to promote and protect our interest.
The Consumer Council of Fiji is pleased to present the Council’s Strategic Plan 2012 to 2022. The Strategic Plan is an evolving document that is reviewed annually to take into account changing situations, government policies, and emerging issues affecting consumers. The plan is expected to play a positive role in achieving a marketplace where consumers are well informed, confident, and protected from unlawful, deceptive, misleading, or otherwise objectionable practices. It is critical that consumers understand their rights and responsibilities and have the skills and confidence necessary to ensure they receive the best quality services and value for money.
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A well-functioning market economy needs educated consumers with the power to influence the market through their rational decisions when confronted with choice. Informed consumers are able to assert themselves in the marketplace, which in turn influences the behaviour of traders, pushing them to be voluntarily compliant with consumer legislation. Only through being informed can consumers gain the benefits of a well-functioning market economy. And in order to be informed, consumers must receive timely and accurate information. This information must be brought to consumers through as many mediums as possible to ensure maximum reach and effectiveness
Mobile units are cost effective means by which the Council can reach out to consumers who would otherwise not be able to access its services due to distance or transportation costs. The mobile units ensure that Council services are accessed directly thus increasing its reach and footprint. The Council also conducts market surveillance and trader visits in the respective areas where the information booths are set up.
Consumer education should begin in early childhood to cultivate positive consumer attitudes and help youths develop independent thinking. This is especially important because more and more traders are targeting youths in advertising campaigns. Furthermore, many emerging consumer issues, such as data safety online, impacts young consumers who spend large amounts of time on social media and the internet. Educating school students on their rights and emerging consumer issues is important to ensure that unscrupulous traders do not swindle them. To do this, the Council actively seeks opportunities to visit schools and educate students on their rights and responsibilities.
Products and services in the modern world are constantly evolving to take into account the ever-growing needs of consumers. Unfortunately, the speed of this innovation can have a negative impact on consumer rights. This is because many products and services are in the hands of consumers before their consumer impacts are fully known. This lack of information on consumer rights with regards to new products is a cause for concern, even for the most informed urban consumers. Rural consumers are susceptible to greater risks simply because they may not have access to the most up-to-date information on consumer trends. Therefore, the Consumer Council of Fiji focuses on reaching as many villages and communities as possible in both rural and maritime areas. Community visits allow accessibility of Council Services and information in the most remote communities and ensures that they are not disadvantaged by distance.
The Council conducts rigorous research on consumer policy issues to stay ahead of emerging trends in the marketplace. This research must then be communicated to stakeholders and consumers. Workshops give the Council an avenue to impart this information. Over the years Council has partnered with several organizations such as the Department of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education, Fiji National University, Catholic Women’s League, the Fiji Disabled People’s Association etc to conduct workshops on various consumer topics and issues. The topics covered in these workshops have moved from the role of the Consumer Council, consumer rights and responsibilities, towards emerging problems that consumers face in their day to day living.
Talkback shows have also proven to be effective for the Council’s campaign on consumer rights, responsibilities and critical consumer issues. The Council has made arrangements with radio and television stations to ensure that it has got slots available to speak on topics which are in the interest of consumers. Talkback shows also all the Council to reach to hundreds and thousands of Fijians who can use this platform to directly communicate or raise any consumer related concerns.
Social media is continuously evolving and as such, the Council is evolving with it. Using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram, the Council has been able to reach consumers around the Country and overseas. This platform is used for disseminating consumer advisories and alerts. Since these platforms are interactive, it allows the Council to receive consumer complaints and provide timely responses to queries.
Contact the Council if you would like us to visit your community, village or school to create awareness, to set up a mobile unit or to conduct workshops. You may reach out to our Campaigns team at 9716263.
The Council also has an in-house production team which looks after audio/video production as well as basic graphics. The team also creates relevant content to be placed in various communications materials in English, Hindi and iTaukei in order to suit the language needs of consumers.
Fiji is vulnerable to naturally induced perils like cyclones, tsunamis, floods, droughts etc., at present there are no insurance solutions for individuals, communities, small businesses, cooperatives and other livelihood groups. Through the United Nations Capital Development Funds’, Pacific Insurance and Climate Adaptation Programme (PICAP), innovative parametric insurance products are being developed for pilot testing among groups and individuals. Financial awareness and competency are key to adoption and usage of financial services, particularly insurance. The project focuses on building awareness, financial literacy and competency among communities with a view to preparing them to meaningfully access and use standardized Climate Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance CDRFI instruments including parametric insurance. The project is targeted at building up the financial resilience of Fijian communities including women, youth, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.
Diabetes is extremely common in Fiji with 1 in every 3 Fijians being diagnosed with diabetes; that is 30% of the population. Diabetes related deaths is also the biggest killer in Fiji – making Fiji a world leader in diabetes. Project Control Consumption stresses more prominently the concept of individual responsibility for health. The theme for the project is “Empowering consumers to combat Diabetes”. The Council is determined to empower consumers to assume more responsibility for their own behaviours (consumption patterns) and lifestyles (e.g., eating, exercise, and smoking habits) since these can have significant health consequences independent of any medical care. The project is funded by The Anne Fransen Fund – coordinated by Consumers International, the membership organisation for consumer bodies around the world,aims to promote and support the growth of consumer organisations in developing countries. It was founded in 1988 following the death of Anne Fransen in 1981, the first director of Consumers International.
World Consumer Rights Day every year on March 15, to raise global awareness about consumer rights and needs. Launched in 1983, World Consumer Rights Day is coordinated by Consumers International and recognized worldwide. Celebrating the day is a chance to demand that the rights of all consumers are respected and protected. It is a global moment to raise awareness and drive meaningful and long-lasting change on pressing challenges being faced by consumers across the world. Each year, Consumers International connects and engages 200 consumer advocacy groups in over 100 countries across the world – around a core topic.
In the past, Members have held events, engaged with their local media, produced reports, advocated to national governments, influenced companies, and held direct conversations with consumers. Previous themes include: Trusted Smart Products 2019, Antibiotics off the menu 2016, Healthy Diets 2015. In 2021, 73 Members carried out local campaigns on ‘Tackling Plastic Pollution’.
This year, the Membership of Consumers International – 200 consumer groups in 100 countries – selected Fair Digital Finance as the global theme.
By 2024, digital banking consumers are expected to exceed 3.6 billion. In the developing world, the proportion of account owners sending and receiving payments digitally has grown from 57% in 2014 to 70% in 2017. Digital finance brings new opportunities – but also new risks that can lead to unfair outcomes for consumers. It can increase the likelihood that the most vulnerable are left behind.
This World Consumer Rights Day will spark the first-ever global conversation on the consumer vision for fair digital finance.
In a joint effort to empower and protect consumers, especially the disadvantaged and marginalised ones, the Consumer Council of Fiji, with the support of the European Union, launched the Community Consumer Advisory Group (CCAG) on the 25th of June 2014 in Suva.
The group, which has a voluntary membership representing rural, remote areas of the country, will act as the Council’s eyes, ears and voice on the ground.
The Council has identified seven representatives from Savusavu, Taveuni, Nasinu, Lautoka, Rakiraki, Labasa and Levuka to be part of the CCAG.
If you would like to be a part of our tireless group of volunteers as the Council’s eyes and ears within your community, you can express your interest to the email email@example.com
CCAG Representative - Lautoka
CCAG Representative - Nasinu
CCAG Representative - Rakiraki
CCAG Representative - Taveuni
CCAG Representative - Savusavu