Commission’s Legal Basis for Investigating Complaints
The Commission has a legal obligation under the provisions of Commerce Commission Decree 2010 (CCD 2010) to receive, investigate and initiate actions on behalf of the consumers for breaches of the Decree. The Commission, pursuant to Section 15 (1) (f) and Section 15 (1) (h) of the Commerce Commission Decree 2010 (“Decree”) is tasked to:
- To promote the interest of consumers and persons negotiating or considering the acquisition of goods or services as consumers and to assist them to a greater awareness in relation to their assessment and use of goods or services;
To receive and consider complaints concerning matters affecting or likely to affect the interest of consumers or persons negotiating or considering the acquisition of goods or services as consumers and if the Commission is of the opinion that such action is warranted, to investigate the complaints and take such action on behalf of the consumers or persons negotiating including legal proceedings in respect thereof as seems proper to the Commission.
Methods of Lodging Complaint with the Commission
There are various sources of complaints. They may be from consumers, competitors, referrals from other government departments or statutory authorities, Ministerial inquiries or media reports. Various complaints can be in the form of telephone discussions, formally written or off the street or raised in parliament, personal visits to the Commission, emails, personal letters, referrals from other authorities and media highlights
Given that most of the investigations conducted by the Commission is based on complaints or inquiries, this in turn provides the Commission information and evidences to successfully pursue likely breaches of the provisions of the Commerce Commission Decree 2010.
4.5.1 Written Complaints (via letters)
These are the official written complaints received by the Commission from members of the public or traders with an expectation that it falls within the jurisdiction of the Commission. These written complaints can either sent by mail, be faxed, emailed or hand delivered. Such complaints are treated as formal official complaints and needs to be addressed if within the Commission’s jurisdiction or consumer advised of the appropriate authority should it fall outside the Commission’s jurisdiction. Such complaints must have the name and contact details of the complainants and the respondent and the nature of complaint clearly spelt out.
Complaints in Person
Members of the public or the trades can visit the Commission Office or centre nearest to them to file a complaint in regards to breaches of CCD2010. Consumers may also visit the offices or centres to seek advice or assistance from the Commision and some of these visits may raise issues which are outside the Commission’s jurisdiction.
Such complaints will be recorded in the Official Commission Consumer Complaint forms with all the necessary particulars duly completed. Together with the Consumer Complaints forms, the Commission Officer entering the complaints must be provided with documentary evidences and the official statement of the complainant in the Statement Form.
With increasing IT penetration in Fiji, emails have become a fast and convenient means of Communication. The Commission is also receives numerous via emails. This is an acceptable means of lodging complaints. However, the following must be included with the complaints or the officer receiving the email must get the following information before any investigations can commence:
- Full name, contact details and postal address of the complainant.
- Full name and contact details of the respondent.
- Nature of Complaint.
- All necessary documents to support the complainants claims;
- Proposed remedy sought by the complainant.
The complainant may also be asked to visit a nearest FCC office and give the formal statement
Complaints can also be lodged with the Commision via fixed line or mobile phones. The Commission staff receiving the complaints over the phone will ensure that full information is sought and recorded.
When dealing with a complaint in person or over the phone:
- Identify yourself to the Commission Staff
- Provide full name and contact details
- Be professional, polite and courteous
- Listen carefully to the Commission’s investigation process explained by the Commission Officer
- Do not attempt to lay blame or be defensive – politely provide the Commission Staff with your perspective
- Make a record of the complaint and confirm the details with the Commission Staff
- Request for information the courses of action available to address their complaint
There may be circumstances where the line ministry or ministers in parliament will make inquiries seeking updates on the investigations or further information on the functions of the Commission.
Once the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer/Section Head identifies the officer to handle the matter, the officer will acknowledge the request within 7 working days and the matter would be finalized within 14 days to 1 month, depending on the complexity of investigations.
Referral from other Authorities
Given the nature of the Consumer issues and also the wide areas covered under the Commerce Commission Decree 2010, it is more than likely that consumers may lodge their complaints with other agencies such as Consumer Council of Fiji, Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption, Different Ministries, Fiji Police Force, and Department of Trade, Measurements and Standards, and other government agencies. The Departments receiving such complaints may establish that the Commission is the right forum to refer the matter to. The Commission will receive and investigate such cases should it fall under its jurisdiction.
The referring agencies must ensure (the Commission will only commence investigations if the following is satisfied) that while they refer the complaints to the Commission, the following is submitted:
- Copy of the letter or complaints forms
- All evidences that was submitted to the agency when the complaint was filed initially;
- Summary of all the work under taken by them in regards to the complaint;
- Copies of all the correspondences with the complainant and the respondent on the issue;
- Outcome of any mediation that may have been contacted
- Formal Referral letter.
4.5.7 Other means of Identifying Consumer issues
The Commission may also be highlighted with consumer issues through the following:
- Provincial Councils, Village Heads, Tikina Councils , Religious Groups, Advisory Councilors, NGO’s;
- Media Personals based on news articles or their observations;
- Media Screening by the Commission for advertisements and any other issues that may be catered for under CCD2010.
- Personal Observations by the Commissioners and Commission Staff
- Inspections and Market surveillance
All issue identified by the Commision will be investigated if it breaches CDD 2010 and is likely to be in public interest.
The Commission welcomes complaints from consumers and businesses with respect to what it perceives to be unfair trade practices, cartel practices and over pricing of items that are under price control.
Only complaints that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction will be investigated. Complaints not within the Commission’s jurisdiction will be forwarded to the relevant authority and the complainant advised accordingly.
The Commission will seek to address all complaints within 30 days of receiving it. Complex cases may take longer and the complainant advised if this may be the case.
You may lodge your complaint via email[Fill out the Form Below] or you may write and post it to:
The Chairman/Chief Excutive Officer
Fiji Commerce Commission,
PO Box 5031,
or it can be dropped off at
Level 1, Garden City Complex,
Carpenters Street, Raiwaqa, Suva.
Download: Complaints Forms