Saturday 27 September 2008

The Voice - Dear Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice

I bought a dual SIM card cellphone for P1,250 from Cellular Electronics in Blue Jacket Street in Francistown on 30th July.  Two days later it stopped working so I took it back on 2nd August.  When I got there they told me that they didn’t offer any guarantees and they weren’t going to help me.

What can I do? 

Some stores just don’t understand their legal obligations.

Section 13 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations says that suppliers have failed to meet minimum standards if they sell something that “is not of merchantable quality”.  That means what they sell you must be “fit for the purposes for which commodities of that kind are usually purchased”.  Cookers must cook, refrigerators must refrigerate and cellphones be capable of making phone calls.  Simple as that.

They must also do these things for a suitable period.  Of course you can’t expect a cooker to last a lifetime and certainly nobody expects a cellphone to go on for years and years but it must surely last longer than 2 days.  They have to deal with this situation, the law says so.

However, if there is an exception to this rule.

If there was a) a very large sign in the store that says there is no warranty on the goods they sell, b) your attention was drawn to this BEFORE you paid your money and c) you “specifically consented to it” (that’s from Section 17 (1) (f) of the Regulations) then there truly is no warranty.

But that didn’t happen, did it?

We phoned Cellular Electronics to investigate.  In one phone call they confirmed that they offer no guarantees.  In another call they said there is a 1 month warranty which is still not good enough.  They seem confused.  We’re not.  It’s very simple.

Don’t buy things from stores that ignore their legal obligations.

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