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Taskforce to carry out investigation on defrauding traders

May 21, 2018 12:59 am

A task force consisting of officials from the Consumer Council and the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission will begin investigation into allegations of fraud against traders from tomorrow.

The Consumer watchdog and the protection agency has received complaints from people in the Western Division who are being assisted under the Home CARE initiative.

It is alleged that certain traders are trying to profiteer of the situation faced by the victims affected by Tropical Cyclones Josie and Keni.

Consumer Council chief executive, Premila Kumar, says they are aware of cases where traders increased the prices of goods and services after the initiative was rolled.

She says certain traders are trying to push their old stock, hike prices, use promotions to entice consumers to spend all their money in their store or use discriminatory practices.

Kumar says the have received five complaints on the Home CARE initiative and one complaint on farm care initiative.

“We did a very simple exercise , we looked at 28 items which consumers will buy like TV, rice cooker and we tried to get the prices from the advertised prices that came out in the newspapers, television as well on Facebook and some of the prices were advertised as early as April 21st and home care initiative just rolled out recently so these are not like really old prices we are comparing where one can say that the goods were old sold out and new stock came in, our findings have shown that only for 11 items the price remained same what was advertised initially has remained same but for the rest of the items the prices have gone back to its original price so it is a clear indication that at a time like this when the government is trying to help the needy the private sector is trying to profiteer and make money.”

Consumers are being urged to contact the Council if they are facing similar issues.