The Consumer Council of Fiji is calling on consumers to be cautious when buying goods sold by sales person at your door step.
And, the Council is issuing a stern warning to traders/service-providers to refrain from selling defective, and counterfeit products to the consumers using agents that go from door to door to sell the products, especially in the rural areas.
This call comes in light of concerns raised at a recent workshop conducted by the Council in Labasa. The Northern-consumers were found to be duped into purchasing mobile phones, namely, “FORME” brand by the door to door sales agents. Those raising concerns told the Council that while some consumers chose to buy those phone handsets – they, however, had no idea where they could go if their phones malfunctioned.
However, a quick check in Labasa has confirmed that “FORME” phones are available at Vodafone Fiji outlets and are also sold in their road shows in the North. They also have agents who are seen wearing Vodafone t-shirts selling same phones during the road shows.
It must be noted that while door to door sale is a legitimate mode of doing business, dealers have to comply with Fiji Commerce Commission Decree 2010 – otherwise, they could face maximum fine of $50,000 if found in breach of the decree.
Consumers must ask for the identification of the person selling the phone. Ensure the identification provided is authentic and, if possible, ask for any other ID such as a driver’s license. Do not allow the salesperson into your home until you verify their identity and have someone else present.
Do not sign a contract or give the salesperson any cash without checking the product – ask questions and read any documents carefully before you sign a contract. Be on a lookout for any unfair terms and conditions in the contract documents.
There is a cooling off period for door to door selling should the product be faulty and/or is not fit for its purpose – you have an absolute right to cancel the door-to-door contracts within 14 business days even if you have signed the contract or paid cash for the product. You must return the product to the dealer/trader within 14 days time and seek a refund of any money paid out.
Consumers are encouraged to demand for itemised rreceipts that has company’s name, details of the products, the date of sale, the signature of the agents and the company’s ID number of the agents. Consumers must never accept or pay for any product or service or sign any contract or agreement until and unless an official receipt of the trader or the supplier is provided to them.
In the meantime, the Council is investigating the Labasa case. The traders and suppliers who sell goods and services through door-to-door sales are reminded to take responsibility for the product and provide redress if the products are faulty– after all, consumers are forking out their hard-earned cash and they have a right to redress.