Friday 4 September 2009

The Voice - Dear Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I have a very serious problem.

I purchased furniture from Supreme Furnishers in Kanye some times last year and I defaulted for 2 months then that furniture was repossessed. During the repossession I refused to sign the repossession form since I did not agree with the terms which said that the goods will be sold and I was to pay the difference in instalments.

Kindly explain to me what does 24 months to pay mean because now Supreme Furnishers has handed me to ITC and I have been blacklisted though I had an agreement with them to pay within 24 months.

Your urgent response regarding this matter will be highly appreciated.

You have misunderstood your agreement with Supreme. I haven’t seen the contract you signed with Supreme last year but I bet it DIDN’T say that you had “24 months to pay”. I bet it said you had to make 24 monthly payments, which is a very different thing. When you sign a credit agreement with a company like Supreme it’s not up to you to decide when and how you make your repayments. You agreed to make payments every month, not when you felt like it.

As you admit you did default on your repayments. Repossessing after only 2 months does seem rather quick but check that contract you signed. What did it say about repossession? You don’t go into detail about any letters they wrote to you regarding your payments, did you respond to them?

You mention that you refused to sign the repossession form but I don’t think this means anything. The original contract you signed will have outlined Supreme’s right to repossess the furniture.

Technically there’s no such thing as being “blacklisted” with TransUnion (ITC’s new name). You will have a record in their database that describes your repayment profile and this will no doubt record the fact that you defaulted and the goods needed to be repossessed.

Unfortunately you still do owe Supreme the outstanding instalments minus any value they received by selling your furniture but you can’t expect that to reduce your debt by a great amount.

What I suggest is that you send us the original contract you signed and copies of any letters you have received from Supreme and we’ll see if there’s anything we can do but I suspect there’s not much chance.

The lesson is simple. Don’t buy on credit!

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

[This is a long story that we’ve truncated to highlight the important issues. The customer bought a car at auction that had previously been repossessed by Government. He had a number of issues to fix and took the car to garage. When he picked up the car they failed to give him the old parts they had replaced and then problems occurred with the prices he was being charged.]

When I checked on him on Monday he started by lecturing to me how he loses a lot. Only after I convinced him that I can only be satisfied and pay if I see the replacement parts he walked around the workshop collecting the timing belt hanged on one car and a package of tension pulley and some plugs from the rubble and gave them to me. He quoted me P1,550 for the tension pulley and P600 for the timing belt and P170 for the plugs.

When I went to another spares shop a similar timing belt was sold at about P200 and the tension pulley was worth about P300. I did not check on the plugs which I also believe they cost less than the price he quoted.

On the basis of the above I wish to seek your advice as I feel unjustified service has been done to me and my car; hence I want to dishonour the PD cheque pending a justified account for the service rendered and the costs thereof.

I hope you realise how fortunate you are? You gave him a post-dated cheque and he accepted it? Is he insane?

Yes, you should certainly contact your bank and tell them NOT to honour that cheque. Even if the bank charge you it’s surely worth it? You have a reasonable suspicion that this garage is abusing you and it’s only fair to withhold payment from them until they cough up the truth. The prices you quote are just ridiculous and if they can’t prove that they really did replace those parts then they are in deep trouble. The Consumer Protection Regulations are simple enough for him to understand.

They’ve breached Section 15 (1) (a) by failing to deliver a service "with reasonable care and skill". They may even have breached Section 17 (1) (b) which describes "representing that a part, replacement or repair is needed when it is not" as an unfair business practice.

I suggest you write him a polite letter saying you are withholding payment until he can give you a decent explanation for the prices he’s charging and the story behind the replacement parts.

Let us know how he reacts!

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