1313 complaints – 11 per cent increase in the past 3 months

Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Seema Shandil. Picture: FT FILE

The Consumer Council of Fiji registered 1313 complaints with a monetary value of $1.3 million in the past three months.

In response to questions council chief executive officer Seema Shandil said they had noted an 11 per cent increase in complaints registered from August to October this year.

According to the council 10.8 per cent of the total complaints registered during the period were related to food and drinks whereby many traders continued to defy regulations and were found to be selling expired food items.

These traders were also found to selling price controlled items above regulated price and restaurants preparing food in unhygienic conditions.

“Complaints relating to food and drinks are astounding due to the malignancy of its effects on consumers. Issues such as sale of expired and banned products show a high level of negligence and profiteering behavior,” she said.

“Hence, we are calling on consumers to be extremely vigilant as there is usually a high uptake of certain types of food and drinks during the festive season.”

Issues related to landlord and tenancy, online shopping and public transport also topped the list of complaints.

Out of the total complaints registered during the three months, Ms Shandil said the council successfully resolved 72 per cent of the complaints while investigations, mediations and liaisons with other bodies were being conducted to resolve others.

Meanwhile in instances where the respondents were not in favour of providing redress, the cases have been escalated to other enforcement bodies for further action.

The council has also issued a stern reminder for consumers to be cautious and exercise proper due diligence when shopping during the festive season.

Ms Shandil said there were certain traders who were always looking to capitalize on the vulnerability of consumers via unethical means.

Let me make it very clear, the Council does not condone any unethical practice and it will not hesitate to name those individuals or traders who fail in their responsibility of maintaining a fair marketplace for all,” said Ms Shandil.

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