Consumer Council of Fiji Urges Consumers to Exercise Vigilance and Responsibility During Festive Season Shopping

December 5, 2023

As we enter into the festive season, the Consumer Council of Fiji is cautioning consumers to be vigilant and exercise their responsibility when engaging in holiday shopping. Reflecting on the challenges observed during the previous festive season, consumers must make informed decisions, ensuring a joyous and seamless celebration.

During the festive season last year, the Consumer Council of Fiji encountered various issues in the market place which impacted consumers, ranging from misleading advertisements and pricing discrepancies to dishonoured hotel and restaurant bookings. Among the concerns were also instances of the sale of expired and unmerchantable goods, raising serious questions about the quality and safety of products offered to consumers.

CCOF CEO Seema Shandil has stressed that misleading advertisements and pricing discrepancies can lead consumers to make uninformed decisions, expecting one thing and receiving another. Such practices violate consumers’ right to accurate information, leaving them at a disadvantage.

Instances of dishonored hotel and restaurant bookings – which were evident last year – is another issue which usually soars during the festive season as families and workmates try to share the spirit of festivities. The Consumer Council urges businesses to uphold their commitments, especially during the festive season when demand for such services is high.

Meanwhile, the Council is also reminding consumers that the sale of expired and unmerchantable goods also seems to become a common practice during festivities as consumers rush to shop. Hence, consumers must properly inspect product labelling before placing it in their shopping carts. Sale of such products not only puts consumers’ health at risk but also breaches consumer protection laws.

Ms. Seema Shandil is also emphasizing the importance of consumer awareness and responsible shopping during the festive season. She stated, “The festive season is a time of joy and celebration, and consumers deserve to be treated fairly. We urge consumers to be vigilant, report any issues they encounter, and make informed choices to protect their interests.”

In addition to these concerns, the Consumer Council of Fiji strongly recommends that consumers shop early and not wait until the last moment. Shopping early allows consumers to avoid the pitfalls of last-minute rushes, reducing the likelihood of encountering issues such as misleading advertisements, unfulfilled bookings, and the purchase of substandard products. Early shopping provides the time needed to thoroughly evaluate products and services, ensuring a smoother and more enjoyable festive season experience.

The Consumer Council of Fiji remains committed to advocating for consumer rights and creating awareness about fair business practices. Consumers are encouraged to contact the Consumer Council helpline at 155 to report any issues or seek guidance.

As the festive season kicks into high gear, the Consumer Council of Fiji reminds consumers to tread carefully, stay informed, and exercise their rights as well as responsibilities to ensure a happy and trouble-free celebration.