Who Are We?
March 8, 2022
WHO ARE WE
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.
WHAT DO WE DO?
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 Fiji
through advocacy, independent submissions, mounting campaigns and engaging with multisectoral partners. Key areas include:
- Advocacy and education.
- Market surveillance and trader visit;
- Research and policy analysis; and
- lobbying for policy changes.
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.
ABOUT THE CONSUMER COUNCIL
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.
FUNCTIONS OF THE COUNCIL
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.
SERVICES OF THE COUNCIL
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.