Friday 7 March 2008

The Voice - Dear Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer's Voice

I recently bought a Samsung cellphone from a store in Francistown. When I asked the store what warranty it came with they told me it lasted just one month. I didn’t think this was normal but I wanted the phone so bought it. When I got it home and unpacked it the paperwork said that it was covered by a warranty that lasted a whole year.

Which do you think was correct?

The first thing I would ask is whether you should have spent your money in a store who acts so strangely. All cellphones from reputable manufacturers like Samsung will come with a standard warranty that will last for something like a year. Some might even last longer. However if the store is saying they will only cover you for a month then you should ask some questions. Why are they trying to ignore the manufacturer’s warranty? Is it because they just don’t want to be bothered by you if it goes wrong? If so then they don’t deserve your money.

Is it that they are just trying to confuse you? That’s illegal. It’s illegal to confuse customers about their “legal rights, obligations, or remedies” when they buy something.

Alternatively is it perhaps because the phone is not all that it seems? We’ve heard that some unscrupulous cellphone stores import second-hand cellphones from other countries and then pass them off as new. That’s obviously illegal. Section 13 (1) (c) of the Consumer Protection Regulations says the store is in trouble if they say something is “new when in fact it has deteriorated, or it has been altered, reconditioned, used or is second hand”.

We wrote to Samsung about this but unfortunately we’ve not even had an acknowledgment from them. Don’t they care about their customers in Botswana?

If by any chance Samsung read this you know where to find us!

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