Enjoy shopping but be cautious

THE Consumer Council of Fiji is calling on members of the public to be cautious about buying items marked on special during sales.

Council CEO Premila Kumar said consumers needed to check and re-check the quality of items on sale because there were cases referred to them where traders used misleading advertisements to trick consumers into buying items that were outdated or expired.

In past sales she said they found out some consumers were not given the best deals and in other cases the prices of products they bought were not even on sale.

“If consumers want to buy a particular product they need to do a lot more window shopping as you may call it. They have to go from shop to shop to identify the features of that particular product, the real cost as well as whether that product can be locally repaired and who is the repairing agent available,” Ms Kumar said in an interview this week.

She warned consumers not be carried away if there was a sale and rush to buy items.

“Looking at the past complaints we have seen that during the last festive season the council recorded more than a million dollars worth of complaints and this was over the recent Christmas, New Year and the Back to School sales. This itself shows problems consumers faced when there is a sale conducted by retail outlets.

“I would like to advise the public that they should not be carried away by such sales they should only buy products they actually need and not indulge in impulsive shopping when really don’t need the product.”

She said most promotions did not last long and it was important for consumers to check the items and its validity period.

Mrs Kumar said they believed consumers should enjoy their shopping by making the most of the “specials” and discounts, at the same time avoid the pitfall by being vigilant about the quality and price of the items they purchased. “Remember to ask the trader how the product functions, try and get some direction from the retailer outlets before you take the product home,” she said.

“To consumers, you must remember that at the end of the day the money belongs to you and it’s up to you whom you want to give the money to and you should always spend it on the most ethical trader. If the trader is unethical than you should not do any dealing with such traders.”

She urged consumers to spend enough time doing comparison shopping, reading terms and conditions and finding out where they could get maximum value and savings.

“The consumers decide who they want to deal with and should always choose a trader who is ethical and willing to assist and someone who really makes a consumer a king.

If you come across traders who are rude to you, or don’t listen to you then you should just part ways and not spend your cash on such stores.

“Do not buy products that you don’t need and remember to keep the receipts because without it there is no evidence of purchase.”