August 14, 2019
Suva, Fiji – The Consumer Council of Fiji (CCoF) will soon have an automated electronic complaints management system that will streamline their data aggregation, storage and recall processes.
The web-based complaints management system is made possible through a partnership between the CCoF and the United Nations Capital Development Fund’s (UNCDF) Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP).
The Council currently has two separate database systems for recording complaints however, the new complaints management system will allow CCoF to organize, retain, retrieve and analyze complaints data from a single integrated database. With this upgrade, CCoF staff involved in the complaints’ management process will be able to log in, record the complaint, view the complaint, conduct assessments, update records and provide feedback to the consumer – all through a single, easy to use, web platform.
“On a daily basis, we are inundated with many complaints that we receive through various mediums such as in person, on social media, through emails and via telephone. The complaints management system will automatically categorize and process all these complaints from various sources into a single data platform,” CCoF CEO Seema Shandil said.
“It will also make it easier for consumers to follow up on their complaints and receive timely updates on the status of their pending cases at the Council,” she added.
Technical support from PFIP will allow this essential upgrade to come into fruition. PFIP will assist CCoF to develop an efficient system that can track all complaints and allow the Council to take them to their logical conclusion.
PFIP Deputy Programme Manager Krishnan Narasimhan said the partnership with CCoF was aligned to PFIP’s mandate to improve consumer protection and innovation. While the primary focus will be on managing complaints pertaining to financial services sector, the automation will cover all forms of complaints dealt by CCoF.
“During our previous engagement with the CCoF on the review of the Consumer Credit Act in 2017, conducted for the Fiji Ministry of Industry and Trade, it was identified that the Council lacked a comprehensive complaints management system” he said.
CCoF is a statutory body established under the Consumer Council of Fiji Act 1976 (Cap 235). The Council, as a watchdog, protects the rights and interests of consumers by promoting fair and just delivery of goods and services. First and foremost, the Consumer Council of Fiji is an advocacy organization, conducting rigorous research and policy analysis on key consumer issues. CCoF’s insight into consumer need is a powerful tool for influencing decision-makers to bring about change. The Council protects the vulnerable groups such as rural poor, physically and mentally challenged, children and women by identifying and articulating the policy issues that are of importance to the consumers.
PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme that has helped over two million Pacific islanders gain access to financial services and financial education. It achieves these results by funding innovation with financial services and delivery channels, supports policy and regulatory initiatives, and the empowerment of consumers.
It is jointly administered by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and receives funding from the Australian Government, the European Union and the New Zealand Government. PFIP operates from the UNDP Pacific Office in Suva, Fiji and has offices in Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.