The Consumer Council of Fiji has received a staggering 134 complaints against a credit provider in the Central Division, totaling approximately $150,000 in combined monetary value.
In response, the Council is issuing a stern warning to consumers about this credit provider.
Chief Executive Seema Shandil notes that during the festive season, many consumers often opt for personal loans.
However, she emphasizes the importance of heeding this warning to avoid unfair terms and conditions.
Shandil highlights that the nature of complaints against this credit provider paints a troubling picture of unethical business practices.
These range from forcing consumers to purchase items on hire purchase when taking loans to questionable deductions and misleading loan agreements.
She adds that some highlighted cases include the service provider placing conditions on cashing loan cheques, ongoing deductions despite account clearance, discrepancies in the release of securities, and failure to fulfill promised items within loan packages.
Shandil expresses disappointment in witnessing consumers falling victim to this unscrupulous credit provider.
In one disturbing case, the Council received a complaint from an individual who took a $1,000 loan, promptly repaid the full amount of
$1,450 within two weeks, only to discover persistent interest charges for the subsequent six months.
In another case, a consumer sought a $500 loan from the credit provider, only to discover discrepancies when cross-referencing with her payroll, indicating a loan balance of $3,000.
Upon inquiry, the credit provider explained that a coffee table had been added to the loan, although the item was never received by the complainant.
Additionally, the company claimed to have restructured the loan without providing any documentation to the complainant.
Shandil advises consumers to carefully read the terms and conditions, as well as scrutinize all relevant details before entering into any financial agreement.