Kit Home Consumers deserve their money back

19/02/2015 08:47

The Consumer Council of Fiji expresses grave concern over the financial loss suffered by the Fijian consumers who had engaged the construction company named International Wise Property Developments (Fiji) Limited (IWPD) for the construction of low cost housing (kit homes).

These consumers, some of who spent their life savings or had secured loan, to own the kit homes are left penniless after the construction company which is run by foreign investors, failed to carry out construction works despite taking money from them.

To date, the Council has received complaints totaling a monetary value of FJD$222,000 currently being owed to consumers.

The whereabouts of the Directors and the status of their business here in Fiji remain unknown as emails sent by the Council to the Director Mr. Grant Cullen remain unanswered. There has been no commitment shown by the company to either carry out the construction work on the kit homes or refund the money paid to them by the consumers.

The Council has also just learned that Mr. Grant Cullen and his wife Ms. Michelle Cullen have recently sold their home in Queensland, Australia fetching approximately AUD1.4 million (FJD$2.2 million) - definitely enriching the couple.

This is disturbing as our consumers have lost their money. This company should do the right thing by returning the money to the vulnerable consumers. There is no excuse now as they have the cash with them.

The foreign investor company has also left behind debt with their other creditors as evident by a winding up petition by ANZ Solicitors that was advertised in The Fiji Times dated 24 January, 2015.

We have highlighted the plight of consumers against this company previously on several occasions to the relevant authorities. The Council is once again urging the regulatory authorities to take this company to task and hold this business as an example to other foreign investor businesses in Fiji.

Consumers cannot be taken for a ride by fly-by-night foreign investors that set up theirbusinesses in Fiji, swindle consumers, and get up and leave.

Our consumers deserve a fair and equitable deal.