Vehicle spare parts review is welcoming news

20/06/2012 14:55

The Consumer Council of Fiji welcomes the review of the price control order for vehicle spare parts and accessories, now being undertaken by Fiji Commerce Commission.

The Council has been highlighting problems with this market such as unreasonable prices, substandard products, sale of counterfeit accessories and no warranty offered on spare parts. Apart from these issues the Council has also received complaints where dealers have provided the wrong parts and old parts being sold as ‘new’. For far too long consumers have suffered and given the run around by spare part dealers.

The Council received 76 complaints on spare parts in 2010; 51 complaints in 2011; and 17 complaints in the last 5 months. While the numbers may look small, but the monetary amounts involved runs in thousands of hard-earned consumer dollars.

While the Fiji Commerce Commission review focuses on a revised control order the Council is hopeful that other issues such as standards, quality of vehicle spare parts and business practices in the market will be also reviewed.

For example the Council has come across cases where vehicle dealers are either unable to provide spare parts or take months and charge high costs to consumers to get the parts from overseas. In such situation, consumers incur costs by paying for alternative modes of transportation while waiting for the parts to arrive. In other cases, vehicle dealers sell unknown brand or obsolete models of vehicles without ensuring that spare parts are available. The vehicle dealer makes the money but once the problem starts with the vehicle, the consumer is given a runaround to find parts because the vehicle dealer had no obligation to stock parts. This is where mechanics and spare-part dealers modify spare parts in an effort to assist which is of concern from safety perspective. 

The Council will be highlighting these issues in its submission to the FCC.

We hope that the Commission’s review of the motor vehicle spare parts market will put the spotlight on dealers and their business practices. This exercise will no doubt reveal some of the problems that consumers have been facing for a long time and hopefully appropriate policies and regulations are put forward to address these.

The Council is urging consumers to make written submissions to the Commission. Alternatively they go to the Council’s website: www.consumersfiji.org or Facebook page “Consumers Fiji” and share their thoughts with us.