Consumer Council unearths illegal trading practice

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

The Consumer Council of Fiji has unearthed practices by some traders who are retailing basic food items such as potatoes and onions at erroneous prices, and without following the legally mandated pricing formula.

Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Seema Shandil said the intent behind implementing controls stems from the desire to maintain affordability of essential everyday items consumers use, and that low income-earners are able to buy those products too.

She said complaints lodged by concerned consumers and information received via the Council’s market surveillance has revealed that certain traders, especially dairy shops, are selling individual potatoes and onions at extremely high prices – in one instance, a trader was selling onion at $0.50 each.

Ms Shandil has reminded businesses that the pricing formula that clearly communicated the mark-up price for such price-controlled products, as per the Price Control Order, must be strictly followed when determining the price of such products.

“The formula takes into account the costs borne by business in retailing these products which ensures that businesses are profiting by retailing it. Hence, there is no justification for businesses to employ such gold-digging tactics in consumers’ pockets.”

Ms Shandil said certain businesses were completing disregarding consumer protection laws, which had been implemented in order to protect and ensure that Fijians were able to provide for their families, especially during challenging times such as the current unprecedent global crises.

She said the Council was encouraging consumers to be more assertive in the market place and to do their part by taking a picture of such unscrupulous practices and sending it to the Council via the Consumer Council of Fiji mobile app or by simply calling the toll-free number 155.


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