MOST consumers fall into the vicious cycle of debt not knowing how to get out of it, participants at a recent workshop in Labasa were told.
Organised by the Consumer Council of Fiji, the two-day workshop was aimed at informing people of their rights as consumers and how they could tackle financial problems with the help of the council.
The council's campaigns and information manager Dorine Narayan said in a statement: "This is where we come in to assist consumers with professional advice and also help them make a workable budget depending on their income and expenditure.
"This service is currently offered in the Central Division as a pilot project and it is expected to reach the North based on public feedback.
"The workshop is primarily focused on consumer rights and obligations under the Consumer Credit Act to make leaders of the community aware of trader and consumer obligation when accessing credit," she said.
Ms Narayan said other information such as taking a home loan or buying a vehicle and receiving insurance policy on home loans were also highlighted to the participants.
"Hire-purchase is a common complaint area in the north where consumers simply fail to understand their financial obligation when taking items on credit.
"As such there is a real need to empower consumers with the knowledge of the Consumer Credit Act which not only protects the consumers from unfair tactics used by traders but also why consumers must pay up when credit is accessed.
"We hope through such workshops, consumers get a better understanding of credit contracts and consequences of defaulting as well."