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.
The trusted go-to consumer movement, which enhances consumer welfare and stakeholder engagement to influence policy decision making.
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 independently represents the voice of all consumers in Fijithrough advocacy, independent submissions, mounting campaigns and engaging with multisectoral partners. Key areas include:
C – We have the utmost CARE for consumers’ views, expressions and their right to protection.
A – We are ACCOUNTABLE to all stakeholders and our vision and mission.
R – We are committed to strengthening our RELATIONSHIP with our stakeholders.
E – We strive for EXCELLENCE in all aspects of our work.
Campaign 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 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:
Mr Gani has more than 20 years of extensive commercial experience. He is currently the Country Manager-Fiji & the Pacific Islands at Brother International (NZ) Ltd. He spent nine years at the Telecom Fiji Ltd Group, his last position being the National Manager Retail & Customer Service. He holds multiple qualifications in the fields of Business, Engineering, Finance, Management and IT. He has a Masters In Business Administration (USP), Masters In Commerce (USP), Masters In Governance, Post Graduate Diploma in Management & Public Administration, Post Graduate Certificate in Financial Administration, Post Graduate Diploma in Governance and Bachelor of Electronics Engineering (Pakistan). He is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Mr. Gani has sheer interest in community development work and places a special focus in youth’s personal development where he dedicates a substantial amount of his spare time. Mr Gani has been a Council Board Member for the past six years.
Ms Elizabeth Algar has proven value as a strategic advisor with multidisciplinary groups, a visionary and servant leader with over 15 years combined senior executive experience in corporate services, strategic management, MSME coaching & mentoring, education, aviation and human resources development. Elizabeth’s current corporate services portfolio includes managing strategic, finance, HR development & recruitment, asset, general administration, and property management. As a consultant, Elizabeth has completed projects for Palladium, Cardno, IUCN, iTaukei Affairs Board, RFMF and the Ministry of Education to name a few. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from USP and is also an Australian qualified trainer and chef. Elizabeth previously worked at International Red Cross, Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC), and Fiji Airways. Her board memberships has included Chairperson for Nasinu & Nausori Town Councils. Elizabeth inspires to be a role model to aspiring women leaders who like her will step out in faith and be an amazing leader in her spheres of influence.
Mr Solvalu is a lawyer by profession and has over six (6) years’ experience specializing in Legislative Drafting, Policy Reform and Revision, and Legal Research. He has played an integral role in the development of major pieces of Fijian legislation, including the Trademarks Act 2021 and Climate Change Act 2021 and has extensive experience in the reviewing and amending of laws – including the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission Act 2010, Companies Act 2015 and the Land Transport Act 1998.
Mr Solvalu holds Bachelor of Law Degree, Professional Diploma in Legal Practice and Professional Diploma in Legislative Drafting – all from the University of the South Pacific. Currently he is the Chief Legal Counsel at the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission. Prior to joining FCCC, Mr Solvalu practised at Howards Lawyers, the Office of the Attorney-General and the Parliament of the Republic of Fiji – Government Chambers. He also serves on the Film Control Board and the Board of Assets Fiji Pte Ltd.
Mr Karan is the Manager Domestic Conditions at the Reserve Bank of Fiji and has over 14 years of experience as a Macro Economist with experience in Fiji and the region. Apart from the RBF he has also worked at the International Monetary Fund’s Pacific Office as a Local Economist. Mr Karan has a Master of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts from the University of the South Pacific.
Ms Ali is currently the Group Financial Controller and Company Secretary at Fiji Fish Marketing Group Company Ltd and and its 11 related entities in the hospitality, investment and fishing industries – a position she has held for the past 5 years. Prior to this, Ms Ali served as the Manager Audit and Assurance and Business Advisory Services for 10 years. She is also a member of CPA Australia, Australian Institute of Company Directors and Leadership Fiji.
Ms Ali has a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting & Financial Management and Public Administration and Business Management from the University of the South Pacific and Post graduate in Accounting from CPA Australia
Chief Executive Officer
Information and Media
Manager Alternative Dispute Resolution & Consumer Advisory
Manager Research and Policy Analyst, Research, Policy and Analysis Division
Manager Finance and Administration
Senior Research Officer
Research and Policy Analysis Division
Assistant Research Officer
Campaigns & Media Officer
Campaigns, Information and Media Division
Senior Consumer Officer
Alternative Dispute Resolution and Consumer Advisory
Alternative Dispute Resolution and Consumer Advisory Division
Assistant Consumer Officer
Consumer Helpline Officer
Complaint Management and Data Entry Officer
Alternative Dispute Resolution and Consumer Advisory & Administration
Receptionist, Clerical and Administrative Officer
Human Resource & Training Officer
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