Council welcomes $10,000 fine on traders/retailers

23/01/2015 08:39

The Consumer Council of Fiji welcomes the amendments made to the Customs Tariff Act 1986, tostop any illegal price increases imposed by traders/retailers immediately after annual nationalbudget announcements by the Government.

We applaud the Government for modifying the law, particularly the imposition of a fine to as muchas $10,000 on those traders/retailers who act illegally by increasing the price of old stock when newduty rates are announced. All old stock should be sold at old prices reflecting the old duty rates.Increasing prices on old stock where previous duty rates have already been paid is unethicalprofiteering.

This is a victory for all Fijian consumers who expect protection from unscrupulous traders/retailerswho act unethically by increasing the prices of goods soon after every budget announcement on thesame day. In reality, new prices should only apply when the trader/retailer pays the new rate of dutyon the items arriving for the first time in Fiji or on all un-cleared cargo.

Now, with such stringent law and a state-run Price Monitoring Taskforce in place, we expect tradersto pass benefits to consumers by matching reductions in retail prices.

Council is aware that the traders normally approach government for duty reductions to express thebenefits consumers will get from such reductions. Unfortunately, duty reductions are not oftenreflected through drops in retail prices.

The amendments to the Custom Tariff Act will stop years of bad practice where retailers do not passon the tax cut in full.

The Council will keep a tab on such notorious traders/retailers who act unethically to hoodwink theconsumers and it is also urging consumers to take a proactive role by exposing such businesses whocontinue to operate unethically.