Misleading Advertisements; an Eye Sore

October 24, 2022

With Diwali just hours away and consumers expected to indulge in last minute shopping, the Consumer Council of Fiji (CCoF) is resounding its message for consumers to be vigilant and keep an eye out for misleading sales and promotions. Such practices are prevalent in the market place; especially during times of festivities and holidays; when consumers tend to splurge and do some last-minute shopping. From January 2021 to-date, the Council has received approximately 250 complaints relating to the same.

Whilst advertisements are designed in a way that they have an effect on the consumers, CCoF Chief Executive Officer Ms Seema Shandil says the most common type of misleading advertisements being discovered is incorrect pricing and false specials and discounts.

“A whole host of sneaky tricks to get their hands-on consumer’s hard-earned cash are being employed – especially evident during festive seasons. Special signs have become the new norm in store aisles. When walking around in shops, it’s likely you will be inundated with lots of brightly coloured signs for ‘top deals’, ‘lowest prices ever’, ‘Diwali bonanza’ or other not-to-be-missed deals.  But beneath the bright colours and tempting signs, are the special and discount offers we see genuine? And do they give us value for money? Deceptive deals and spurious special offers should not be used to trick shoppers.” said Ms. Shandil.

Another common type of misleading advertisement the Council has discovered this week through the Trader Watch program is the absence of original price of products in advertisements showcasing discounted price.

“If traders are claiming that a product is on special, they must display the original price of the product to ensure consumers understand how much they are saving and whether it is worth indulging in those specials. Traders must also disclose the promotion start and end date clearly in all advertisements,” added Ms Shandil.

CCoF will be monitoring both brick and mortar setting and social/mainstream media for any potential misleading advertisements to unearth and rectify any such issues. Consumers are also encouraged to keep an eye out and report any instances of misleading advertisements by taking a picture and sending it via the Consumer Council of Fiji mobile app or call us via the toll-free number 155.