THE Consumer Council of Fiji says its concerns over counterfeit brands stemmed from the number of complaints it received regarding leaking fridges, malfunctioning television sets, gas cookers, woks and toasters and washing machines giving electrical shocks.
Council chief executive officer Premila Kumar said they received complaints where consumers purchased electrical items on credit only to realise it lasted for only a week.
The council's comments and claims follow the release of a report it commissioned on the hire-purchase industry.
Mrs Kumar said the hire-purchase industry report highlighted consumer plight over durable products sold in the hire-purchase market which concerned unknown brands, generic brands or clones, or concocted brands, defined as "brands without factories".
"Over the past 15 years, especially with the rise of mass production of consumer durable industries in China and some Asian countries, the proportion of such brands has increased markedly," Ms Kumar said.
According to Ms Kumar, the standard practice was for a retailer and/or distributor — on behalf of a retailer — to register "brand" names in a country, and purchase generic products made by production companies with the brand names supplied.
"Most of these products do not have manufacturer's warranty that a consumer can be provided with. For this reason and to prevent scrutiny on product standards and certifications, the retailer itself provides warranties to consumers.
"This is in breach of a consumer's right because every durable product must come with a manufacturer's warranty that guarantees the products' merchantable quality," she said.