Beware of the ‘Specials’ this Easter

Caption: Premila Kumar. 

The Consumer Council of Fiji is calling on consumers to be ‘smart and cautious’ when buying during the special sale and promotions which are underway, in the build up to Easter weekend.

Consumers must be prudent in critically analysing the advertisements, promotions and discounts offered during these times before forking out their hard-earned cash.

This call comes in light of a number of concerns raised by the consumers in recent weeks over what they have described as ‘enticing and misleading’ promotions which are going around.

Be it – “Easter special sales”, “March Madness”, “Freebees”, and/or “Crazy Sale”, consumers have to vigilant to ensure they receive value for their money.

It is during these times that consumers often end up being duped with defective products or charged higher prices without their knowledge. And two such incidents have emerged in last two weeks.

The Council received complaint from frustrated consumers who bought grocery items from a prominent supermarket which was advertised as ‘special’ but they were charged actual prices for the items.

One consumer had picked Ritz Cracker biscuit which was on  ‘special’ going for  $1.89, but was charged $2.30 at the counter while another consumer picked Anchor 1 litre full cream milk on ‘special’ for $3.54 but was charged $3.85 at the counter.

These consumers only picked up on this deception when they checked their respective receipts after cashing the goods.

Had these consumers not checked the receipts, they would not have known of the price difference from what was advertised as specials and what was actually being charged.

The Council has also noted cases when supermarkets have sold frozen chicken – one chicken per customer.

This is clearly in breach  of section 81 of the Commerce Commission Decree 2010, which states: “a person must not advertise or offer goods for sale by retail upon condition that not more than a specified or limited quantity or number of goods may be purchased by any one purchaser”.

Further to this, some traders have even engaged in advertising items which are not in stock in their stores.

Traders should refrain from advertising products which are out of stock and refrain from displaying expired or faulty products to be purchased by consumers.

Traders are also urged to be responsible and adhere to the Commerce Commission Decree 2010, while consumers are expected to be cautious with their wallets when it comes to special deals and festive times.

Consumers should:

• budget and spend wisely;

• ask many questions regarding the product;

• examine products carefully before purchasing;

• do comparison shopping on products, services offered and their prices;

• not allow yourself to be enticed with free gifts or zero deposits especially when purchasing expensive items and items on hire purchase;

• collect receipts for every purchase or service rendered and crosscheck prices of items purchased on special.

Consumers are welcome to lodge complaints with the Council if they have been misled or hoodwinked during such sale and promotions.

Ms. Premila Kumar, Chief Executive Officer

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