THE Consumer Credit Act must be amended to mirror the United Kingdom and New Zealand credit laws, the Consumer Council of Fiji and the Reserve Bank of Fiji said.
According to the council's report on the hire-purchase practice in Fiji, the credit laws between the three countries were similar but Fiji's law lacked significant provisions.
These included provisions:
* for the creditor to give a post possession notice to the debtor in writing on a standard form;
* for protection of the debtor if one third or more of the amount borrowed has been paid, wherein a court order would be warranted for repossession; and
* debtors to apply for a time order which allows for more time to meet the repayment.
The council and the bank have recommended the strengthening of laws that specify the types of fees and charges and maximum amounts or the bases for determining the maximum amounts that can be imposed by the credit providers.
"In practice, a credit provider can legally refuse to disclose these on the grounds that they are not ascertainable at the time of making the contract.
"The credit provider can impose unreasonable fees and charges called by various names and justified on various grounds."