Thursday 16 July 2009

The Voice - Dear Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

On the 29th October 2008 I bought a VW Passat 1.8T, 2003 model from Popwind investments t/a Pula Motors for P65,000.

The car was serviced by the same garage on the same date and I drove it from the 29th October 2008 till December 21st 2008 when I experienced a breakdown on the Francistown road.

I tried to call the garage owner known as Mike on the same day, but I could not get hold of him. I had to get a breakdown car to take the car back to Gaborone for which I paid P3,000. After few days I got hold of Mike and told him the whole story about the car and he told me that he cannot help me, the car is mine I should fix it myself. I didn’t like this, so I kept calling him and his answer was the same.

I went on to fix the car at another garage in Gaborone and it cost me P20,000 to repair. After all the repairs, I went back to Mike and asked him if he can meet me half way, he started telling me his personal problems and that he cannot help me.

I am looking forward to your help on this case for I feel that I have been mistreated.

There’s always a risk when you buy a second-hand car. If you’re not an expert it’s very difficult to tell exactly what you’re being sold. That’s why we always suggest that whenever you look for a second-hand car you should take an expert with you.

In your case it might depend on what you signed. Did “Mike” ask you to sign anything that confirmed that you had waived your rights as a consumer? If you did then you might not have any way to get anything back from him. However the Consumer Protection Regulations make it clear that you can only waive your rights if you have “specifically consented” to do so.

However you must understand that the car was 5 years old, you can’t expect it to be in perfect condition. However you CAN expect it to be in a fair condition for a car of that age, unless you were told to the contrary.

We’ll get in touch with Mike and see what he has to say for himself. Meanwhile I think you should write him a letter explaining that he sold you a car that was not of merchantable quality. Make it clear to him that you know your rights. Maybe that will make him see sense and he can come to some arrangement with you.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

I took my Mazda 626 to Korean Auto in Francistown to be serviced in November 2008. On 20th December I went with my wife to collect my vehicle but they told us that the price on the original quotation they gave us had changed. Because we had not agreed the new price we only agreed to pay P5,400 which was the price they had quoted.

On 24th of December on a journey from Orapa to Gaborone steam started coming from the car. We stopped the car and noticed that a lot of water was coming out on the car.

In January Korean Auto towed my car back to Francistown to investigate what could have caused the damaged. I strongly believe that the reason my car had broken down was due to the fact that the garage had not done a good job so they were to investigate and let me know what caused the problem in my car.

When I realized that the garage was taking a long time to inform me about their findings I went to Francistown to find out what was happening and when I got there I was given an invoice of P7,384 dated 20/01/2009 and no feedback of what caused the damage to my car.

I think Korean Auto should have not charged for the second job because if they had done a good job on the first job may car would not have broken done on the 4th day. Shouldn’t I have a warranty period of more than 4 days?

Yes, you probably should. However, what’s more important is that you should have an explanation of what happened. It’s possible that the service had nothing to do with your car breaking down just 4 days later but you deserve to see the evidence. You deserve to see why they are now charging you another P7,384.

I suggest that you write to them demanding a comprehensive breakdown of the new invoice and an explanation of what went wrong with your car.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #3

I saw a product recall for Gonow vehicles in a South African newspaper. We approached our local supplier and according to them, this safety requirement has nothing to do with them. We are of the opinion that safety standards apply for all and this modification has some impact on us too.

How does this affect us in Botswana? Who is the right authority to deal with this issue??

I’m concerned that anyone feels that a safety recall, even if it isn’t an emergency issue, is ignored by suppliers in Botswana.

We’ll contact the Bureau of Standards and see if they can advise on this issue and we’ll let you know.

Meanwhile if you have a Gonow vehicle be extra careful when refuelling.

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