Landlord and tenancy issues were amongst the leading complaints lodged with the Consumer Council of Fiji during the festive period covering Christmas, New Year and back to school shopping.
Council CEO Premila Kumar said they registered over $1 million worth of complaints.
“Landlord and tenancy, electronic goods (home), food and drinks, construction services, advertisements and promotions, hardware, motor vehicle (second-hand), internet services and insurance were among the top 10 list of complaints during the festive season,” she stated.
“Some unsuspecting consumers were short changed and they sought the Council’s assistance. Throughout this time of the year, the Council received a large number of complaints from disappointed shoppers.”
Kumar confirmed that between 1 November 2017 and 31 January 2018, the Council received a total of 771 complaints with a monetary value of $ 1,099,444.14. i.e. 257 complaints per month.
“A total of 763 complaints (including pending cases from previous quarter) were resolved through mediation, representing a total monetary value of $1,422,105.82. It should be noted that the Council also received 763 calls through the National Consumer Helpline (NCH) from disgruntled consumers during that same period either to lodge complaints or to seek advice.
“It is common for consumers to contact the Council to seek advice on the course of action they should take in relation to faulty goods, unsatisfactory services, disputes in relation to payment, residential tenancy issues or other general differences with a trader or service provider. A total of 664 consumers sought advice from the Council either face to face, email, through toll-free number, Facebook or via Council’s mobile units.”
The CEO noted that during the festive season, consumers raised concerns regarding misleading advertisements as traders were found charging different prices and not what they had advertised.
“During Christmas, New Year and Back to School shopping, consumers spend big sum of money. Unfortunately, not every purchase resulted in a satisfied customer.”