Complaints involving landlords and tenants topped the Consumer Council’s report for the past financial year during which a total of 4880 complaints were registered totaling over $5.5 million.
Total complaints received marked a 12% increase from the previous year which council CEO Seema Shandil deems “a clear call to action for all stakeholders to collaborate in creating a market environment that prioritises transparency and accountability.”
“We also acknowledge and thank our consumers for bringing these matters to light, which is a clear indicator that they are already working in solidarity to safeguard their rights. Nonetheless, as the foremost consumer advocacy body in Fiji, we will continue to fight for consumer rights, and this includes taking proactive measures like public naming and shaming of traders who routinely breach consumer rights,” Shandil said.
Tenant complaints against landlords, comprising 534 cases, include issues like bond refunds, illegal utility disconnections, unjust eviction notices, rent hikes during freezes, absent tenancy agreements, and missing rent receipts. Following closely were 499 complaints related to food and beverage concerns, encompassing expiry date problems, spoiled food, and poor restaurant hygiene. The third most common grievance involved online shopping, totaling 285 complaints, covering delivery issues, subpar product quality, and fraudulent activities.
Public transport issues resulted in 256 complaints, ranging from fare accuracy and customer service standards. Faulty household electronics garnered 209 complaints. Misleading advertising and promotions accounted for 173 complaints, while 44 pertained to mobile products. Hardware, construction, electronics, and computer services generated 126, 125, and 124 complaints respectively.
The Consumer Council of Fiji urged businesses, service providers, and authorities to take these grievances seriously. For complaints, consumers can contact the Council via the toll-free line 155 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.