By PREMILA KUMAR (CEO – Consumer Council of Fiji)
The Northern Division has come under spotlight for selling sub-standard mobile phones.
This is after several consumers raised their concerns scrutinizing mobile phone retailers for selling cheap and poor quality mobile phones that lasts for a few days only. What further frustrates consumers is the absence of expected back up service when things go wrong with the products. Retailers simply shirk away from their responsibilities after selling the product. Electronic shops were noted as prevalent sellers of these phones.
These inferior products are designed and programmed in such a way that many consumers are misled to believe that it is a genuine product. This is nothing but an advertising tactic used to lure consumers into buying the product.
The Consumer Council of Fiji’s Labasa Office has received a total of 10 complaints against sub-standard mobile products and its’ after sales services in January alone compared to three for the same period last year.
The Office recorded a high number of complaints against mobile products in the last two years with a total of 106 registered complaints. There has been an increase by 59% in 2012 when compared with the complaints against mobile products in 2011. The Council is optimistic that this is just the tip of the iceberg as many consumers out there are sitting with the faulty products not knowing what to do.
The nature of complaints ranged from problems with phone batteries, phone features missing from promised advertisements, non-disclosure of information, replacement warranty, and speaker problem to malfunction after few days. This is an ongoing problem in the Northern Division and the Council calls on traders to exercise responsibility and stop dumping garbage on consumers.
The Council further urges consumers to be vigilant and to exercise their responsibility while shopping for electronic gadgets. Consumers must examine the products carefully, do an online search for the brand if possible, check the brand market reputation and find out about warranty status prior to buying the product. It is wise to go for quality and long lasting products rather than rushing into buying cheap products that leaves you out of pocket later.
Most importantly consumers must shop around to get the best value for their hard earned money. Consumers are further advised to demand and keep their receipts for all purchases to assist them in seeking appropriate redress.