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$5m recovery

Geraldine Panapasa
Wednesday, January 30, 2013

THE Consumer Council was able to recover more than $5million worth of goods and services for consumers through mediation processes over the past five years.

And the council remains focused on ensuring the high recovery rate continues as it battles against monies consumers have lost completely because of unfair trading practices.

Chief executive officer Premila Kumar said the council managed to recover more than $1.21m in monetary value last year despite its budget of $700,000.

"This is just the recovery part which shows a very high rate," she said yesterday.

"Closed monetary value is money we were able to recover or give back to consumers through mediation process.

"We have had a database for monetary value of complaints since 2008 but some complaints don't have a value like someone wanting to have a policy changed — we cannot put a value on that.

"If you add up all the dollars for the past five years, consumers would have lost $11m —they couldn't have recovered this money."

Elaborating on the money value of complaints, Mrs Kumar said consumers lost more than $3m in 2008, $1.89m in 2009, $2.82m in 2010, $3.77m in 2011 and $2.90m last year.

Closed monetary value or recovered monies totalled $780,655 in 2008, more than $1.03m in 2009, $949,294 in 2010, more than $1.67m in 2011 and more than $1.21m last year.

"Landlord and tenant issues were number one on our top 10 complaints in the past five years with 1379 complaints followed by electronic goods with 699 complaints, mobile products with 570 complaints, Fiji Electricity Authority with 511 complaints and Water Authority of Fiji with 405 complaints," she said.

"Hire-purchase complaints totalled 379 while groceries totalled 273. Spare parts complaints were 263, mobile services with 229 complaints and banks and other financial institutions with 195 complaints."

Hardware and poor internet services were among the top complaints that surfaced last year, Mrs Kumar said attributing this to public awareness on the work of the Commerce Commission of Fiji, its investigations and list of price controlled items.





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