Business News in Brief
Consumers pay more for HP goods
CONSUMERS pay 1.73 times more for goods that they buy on hire-purchase compared to cash sales, the Consumer Council of Fiji said. In a statement issued by council chief executive officer Premila Kumar, it is claimed that the lower stand of the society — the ones living a little above the poverty line and the middle class were the worst hit as they are left with no or little choice but to buy these brands. "What is more heart-breaking is that they buy these products on credit which means they pay monthly instalment and they end up paying 1.73 times more for the goods as they would have paid if they could afford to buy cash. It includes interest rate, extended warranty and administrative fees," Mrs Kumar said. The report said consumers were attracted to enticing media advertisements not knowing that they were purchasing a fake product that had no proper origin. Instead of rejecting such products, retailers promoted and capitalised from these unknown brands with false claims, the Mrs Kumar said.
Company defends in-house brand
ANOTHER hire-purchase company has come forward in defence of its in-house brand amid allegation of counterfeit and concocted brands. Morris Hedstrom, brand makers and distributors of Infinity white goods, wants the Consumer Council of Fiji to quantify its claims of counterfeit brands emerging from Asian makers to infiltrate the local market. MH's director media and marketing, Kuna Sabaratnam said the council's claim concerning the Infinity brand was not qualified. "Every brand has its own issues and brands. It's a worldwide practice that in-house brands are created to put the platform of competition to existing brands for people to buy, making it affordable to everyone," he said yesterday. In-house brands were cheaper with its creation practised by top brand stores like Harrods, Myers and Harvey Jones, he said.
Akita not a counterfeit product
THE white goods brand Akita belongs to Courts Fiji Limited. And according to marketing director Anil Senewiratne, it is not counterfeit products - as claimed by the Consumer Council of Fiji in its report on the hire-purchase industry in Fiji. He said it was a house brand. Mr Senewiratne said the company invested large sums of money in building its brand Akita. This after the council's report - which was launched by Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in Suva last week - said internet search for the brand offered no result. "Over the years we have spent large sums of money building this brand up and invested heavily in our Courts Service operation to provide warranty and after-sales services on these products including the employment of several qualified overseas technicians. "Obviously the council is not aware of the concept of house brands. This is a popular worldwide practice whereby retailers develop their own in-house brands, generally much cheaper than the branded products," he said.