Beware of the ‘Special Deals'

20/10/2014 16:18

Consumers are advised to be cautious about the quality of the items offered as specials, discounts or promotions before buying them in the build-up to Diwali Sale.

The call comes from the Consumer Council of Fiji in light of cases from previous years showing how some traders use misleading advertisements during festivity to entice consumers to buy items which are out-dated and not of merchantable quality.

Our market surveillance over the years shows that some traders try to rid off their old stock during such times. Some of these items may not be fit for the purpose, with so out of date features. In regard to pre-packed food items, consumers should especially check the expiry dates, check that the packaging is intact, etc.

Most promotions do not last long, so consumers should check the promotion validity period, start and end dates. Consumers should be aware of mobile phone promotions which tend to run for short periods of time.

Mobile phone handsets and electric goods are some items to watch out for as the Council continues to receive complaints about the quality of these products across the years. The complaints range from mobile handsets abruptly switching off, foreign languages appearing on the screens and unavailability of any back up service.

Traders should also be responsible and offer ‘real deals’ and not fool consumers. Consumers should seek redress (lodge complaints) if they feel they have been cheated or misled.Like any other festival, there is lots of impulsive buying, little comparative shopping as many consumers are driven by the enticing advertisements, loud music played in stores and sales tricks such as ‘zero dollar’ deposit deals.

The Council believes that consumers should enjoy their shopping by making the most of the ‘specials’ and discounts, at the same time, avoid the pitfall by being vigilant about the quality and price of the items they are purchasing. Consumers should also spend enough time doing comparison shopping, reading terms and conditions and finding out where they can get maximum value and savings.

Consumers should also be mindful of their budget and their ability to spend as they shop for Diwali. They should draw up a list with its average cost of all necessary items for the festival and prioritize them according to high and low priority products. This will not only help them purchase the most important items first but also sustain their budget.

The Council wishes all consumers a blissful and a safe Diwali encouraging a celebration with prudence. It does not have to be an expensive affair but one with reflection on its true meaning.