The Consumer Council of Fiji is alarmed with the negligent attitude of Goundar Shipping Services after their inter island vessel MV Lomaiviti Princess failed to pick up passengers from the Savusavu Jetty for over 24 hours on Saturday 17 August 2013, as reported in the local dailies. (FT 19/08/13, (20/08/13) and the complaints we received.
Consumers were inconvenienced because of a sudden detour the MV Lomaiviti Princess took after overloading passengers from Tavueni. Stranded passengers had to look for their shelter and food. Why should consumers go out of pocket when they carried a valid ticket?
In fact, the shipping companyshould also be ashamed for having to put young children, women and elderly consumers in such a situation.
The Goundar Shipping Services should be held accountable by the authorities who are in-charge of shipping services. How can MV Lomaiviti Princess suddenly decide not to service a route, especially after consumers had paid their fares?
It is also worth noting that consumers have continuously raised their concerns over poor shipping services. From 2008 till June 30th 2013 the Council has registered 79 complaints against shipping companies. Consumers have lodged their complaints after experiencing change in travel schedule without prior notification, delay in departure time, refusal to provide redress, poor and unhygienic vessel conditions and loss of consumer belongings.
The Council is urging relevant authorities to immediately intervene and ensure that consumers do not encounter such situations.