North Hardware Traders, Double the Trouble
March 2, 2021
The Consumer Council of Fiji is issuing a stern warning to hardware traders who are accepting payments from consumers for the supply of hardware materials, but are failing to adhere to the agreed timeline to deliver the items.
This is after the Council received numerous complaints from aggrieved consumers in the Northern Division who have paid hefty sums for hardware materials to reconstruct their homes, but have been left disappointed as traders continuously failed to meet their delivery timeframe.
Complaints lodged with the Council revealed that certain consumers in the Northern Division ordered and made payments ranging from $2000 to up to $8000 to the traders for hardware supplies dating as far as December 2020 yet are still awaiting delivery. Tired of continuous false promises and assurances, consumers sought the Council’s assistance to obtain redress from these unscrupulous traders.
Consumer Council of Fiji Chief Executive Ms Seema Shandil said such business practices are extremely unethical as it is exploiting consumers whilst they are most vulnerable. “Businesses have an obligation to deliver their products and services to consumers, and failure to do so is upright unethical. It is very simple, if you take payments or deposits from consumers for supply of good or services, you must deliver. If you know you can’t, then do the right thing and inform consumers beforehand so that they are not left in limbo” said Ms. Shandil.
“There were hundreds of houses that were damaged by strong winds and severe flooding during the last two cyclones – and people in the Northern Division faced the brunt of it. While everyone is trying to muster all the resources to rebuild their lives from what little is left – certain traders are pocketing the hard-earned money of consumers leaving with no materials to reconstruct their houses or money to buy it from elsewhere”.
The Council has stressed that businesses should ensure that they have adequate amount of goods in stock or have the capacity to deliver the services being requested by consumers prior to committing to supply the same. An alternative would be to inform consumers to pay when the product they are after is available thereby saving time and money for the consumer and ensuring their business reputation is maintained and the consumer is satisfied.
The Council is encouraging consumers coming across such dubious traders to immediately contact the Council on the toll-free number 155 or lodge a complaint using the Consumer Council of Fiji mobile app.