The Consumer Council of Fiji calls on traders and shop owners to engage in ethical business practices as far as the application of the Plastic Bag Levy are concerned.
This call comes due to a concern from an aggrieved consumer who was charged $0.10 for a plastic bag in one of the restaurants in Suva .
Whilst the $0.10 per plastic bag levy comes into effect from today, it is to be noted that this is a phased approach and currently only applicable to shops with Point of Sale System (POS).
Simply put, traders who have computerised system that handles financial transactions including the tax information will be presently charging the plastic bag levy.
The levy paid by consumers will thus be reflected on their receipts. Alternatively, shops and traders who use cash register should not be charging this levy as yet, since, it may not be reflected in the consumer receipt and trader transaction.
Cash registers record sales transactions which can be either manual or electronic.
In that way, the Fiji Revenue and Customs Services (FRCS) may not be able to keep track of the incoming levy from the cash registers and the money may be pocketed by the traders.
When a transaction is processed at a retail store, the POS system records the transaction automatically and does real-time tracking of the information relating to the items purchased by the consumer.
For instance, if a consumer buys a handbag, the POS system will record everything about the transaction including the tax information.
Unfortunately, this feature is not reflected in the cash register system.
Hence, the Council calls on traders who own cash registers to do the right thing and not make consumers pay for the plastic bag levy.
On the other hand, consumers are urged to be mindful of the POS system which requires them to pay $0.10 per plastic bag during their shopping.
Consumers are further encouraged to report on traders who may tend to apply the $0.10 per plastic bag levy at the cash register counters which is not reflected on their receipts.
Consumers can call the National Consumer Helpline no 155 or contact the Fiji Commerce Commission (FCC) and Fiji Revenue and Customs Services (FRCS) regarding the wrongful charging of the levy.
CONSUMER COUNCIL OF FIJI