Traders urged not to increase prices on goods

Shoppers in a supermarket in Suva. Picture: FILE

TRADERS have been advised against increasing prices during natural disasters which amounts to unfair trade practices particularly under Section 66 and 76 of the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission Act 2010.

Consumer Council of Fiji, in a statement said that the council had noted in the past that some unscrupulous traders would seek to increase prices of essential goods at this time and warns traders to refrain from this unethical behaviour.

The council said many consumers would note the traders who give fair or even discounted prices on essential items during a natural disaster and this would secure return businesses.

Consumers were advised that some of the essential items would include batteries, candles, torches, bottled water, hurricane lanterns and lamps, chargers and lights, ropes, building material, generators, tarpaulins, tents, carpentry and electrical tools and matches. The council noted that the items listed must be sold for the prices they were worth during times of natural disaster and demand must not be used as an excuse to artificially inflate their prices.

Meanwhile the council had proposed previously that essential items in natural disasters be placed under short term price control.

In the statement the council also mentioned that this period of price control could begin in the days prior to a natural disasters and in the period directly after.

“This will ensure that price gouging does not take place and that all consumers are able to access these essential goods at a fair price,” it said.

“Consumers who come across instances of price-gouging are urged to contact the Consumer Council on the toll — free National Consumer Helpline number 155,” said the council.

This advice comes as consumers are expected to begin preparations for Tropical Cyclone Mona.

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