Suspect mobile phones

Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Seema Shandil speaking at the opening of a workshop on counterfeit mobile phones in Lautoka . Picture: FELIX CHAUDHARY

THE Consumer Council of Fiji (CCoF) organised a workshop to increase awareness among the public after receiving more than 500 complaints about suspect mobile phones.

CCoF chief executive officer Seema Shandil made this comment while opening the “Educating Fijian Consumers on Counterfeit Mobile Phones: Fighting Fakes in 21st Century” at the Tanoa Waterfront Hotel, Lautoka, yesterday.

“The council has noted an increase in complaints specifically with mobile products,” she said.

“A research conducted showed that a significant portion of mobile products complaints stemmed from counterfeit phones or counterfeit parts.

“In the past three years alone we have received more than 500 complaints on mobile products and these deal with faulty phones.

“This triggered this workshop as we find it alarming as the consumers are affected.

“Our focus will be to advocate consumers and traders on the issues of counterfeit phones in Fiji — issues that are not unique or new to Fiji.”

Ms Shandil said the influx of counterfeit mobile phones into Fiji was a result of demand for the latest products at an affordable price.

“In Fiji, the market for counterfeit phones has been driven by their affordability and the relatively high cost of genuine handsets.

“A major challenge for consumer protection agencies is to weaken the demand for counterfeit goods.

“This is a serious challenge in Fiji given that many genuine imported goods are priced beyond the affordability of most consumers.

“The desire to own new products and prominent brands drives Fijians to buy fake or unauthorised replicas that appear to be real.”

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