Northern consumers urged to be responsible over Indian Mela

23/09/2009 08:49

THE Consumer Council is urging consumers in Labasa to be responsible when buying items from the Indian Village Craft Mela which begins in the Northern town this Friday (25/09/09).

The Council is concerned that because these traders do not have shops or offices locally, consumers will find it difficult to raise their complaints if they find problems with the products they have bought. The Council wishes to advise consumers to select goods carefully to avoid problems at a later stage because traders leave the country after conducting their business. For example a consumer who has bought an item and days later finds some defects, cannot raise his/her complaint with the trader once they leave the country. The risk for consumers is high when these traders are in the country for a short duration.

The Council is therefore advising consumers to take responsibility when purchasing products these trade shows. They should demand receipts for items bought and also seek more information about the trader’s business contact, location etc. They should check the items carefully for any damages and ensure that the price matches the quality of the item. Prices of items should be clearly marked and not be misleading.

The Council is also urging the foreign traders involved and their local agents (if any) to be aware of local consumer protection and fair trading laws. It is the traders’ responsibility to seek information and advice on these laws. All items on sale should display the price. Items on sale must be of merchantable quality and be fit for the purpose. They must display the prices.  Also no exclusion policy should be applied, i.e. ‘Goods Once Sold Cannot Be Returned’ policy or ‘No Refund’ signs. The Council will be maintaining vigilance on the Indian Mela sale and will refer any breaches to the appropriate enforcement agencies.

The Council urges consumers to immediately contact its Labasa Office at 19 Jaduram Street should they face problems or seek advice regarding the mela.