Unethical trade practices must stop: Council

03/04/2012 15:56

The Consumer Council of Fiji is warning traders not to aggravate the hardship caused by the recent flooding to consumers in the west by increasing the price of basic food and non-food items.

Consumers have in the western and central division raised concerns that some traders have increased the price of kerosene, candles, batteries, torches and biscuits during the shopping rush hour in the last couple of days. A complaint was also received where a service station being a major fuel retailer/distributor was selling Fiji Gas at $55.50 for a 12kg cylinder. To cover their trail, some of these unethical traders refuse to issue receipts when consumers ask for one.

This is a common occurrence and a smart tactic used by traders during natural disasters where the price of food and cyclone preparation items suddenly escalates overnight. The Council has come across such unfair trade practices where consumers are left with no choice but to purchase the item because it is needed.

This unfair sales practice must stop immediately. Traders must act responsibly and consumers must report when they are deceived. The Council staff will be visiting supermarkets to check on overnight price hike of price control items. We also urge the enforcement bodies to beef up market surveillance as the bad weather eases.

The Council is also urging consumers to carefully select hardware items as the prices differ widely from one hardware store to another.

Consumers must also be cautious when purchasing food items after flood, particularly frozen items as this can be bad or possibly contaminated. The power outage will consequently affect frozen food and meat which will go bad after sometime.

The Council is also calling on the traders to exercise responsibility by discarding all damaged or faulty goods.