20 traders were charged by the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) for various breaches of the FCCC Act 2010.
These traders were found selling certain retail price-controlled items at an excessive price, failing to display or mark the price on non-controlled and controlled items, as well as failure to issue receipts during daily inspections.
Out of these 20 traders, 10 were based in the central eastern division, 7 in the western division and 3 in the northern division.
“It is a shame to see some unscrupulous traders using the COVID-19 crisis to take advantage of Fijian consumers, but make no mistake, FCCC will come down hard on them,” said FCCC CEO, Joel Abraham.
“In light of the increasing number of complaints, we have equipped and empowered a special response team to deal with such cases, swiftly and strictly.
We are also monitoring supermarkets around the clock, not just for breaches, but to ensure that there is ample stock of essential items available for all Fijians.”
Abraham also said over the past 2 weeks the team has conducted over 950 inspections, 62 cases were filed for enforcement for which 11 are still under investigation. And caution interviews for most of this case have completed.
“FCCC has implemented a zero-tolerance approach which simply means that the ground enforcement teams will not be issuing verbal warnings or infringement notices for any non-compliance, instead, the trader will be instantly warned for prosecution,” he said.
“We usually have a very collaborative approach and have always worked with the private sector to ensure compliance, but in this case, we feel the need to take a hardline approach given the increase in non-compliance by traders.
We have no other option but to go hard on traders that try to take advantage of Fijians during these hard times”