Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Should HomeChoice obey Botswana law?

An open letter (OK, an email if you insist) to HomeChoice in South Africa.
I represent a Consumer advocacy and support service in Botswana called Consumer Watchdog. We have weekly newspaper columns in The Voice and Mmegi and a radio program every Monday morning on Radio Botswana. You can see more at and then clicking on Consumer Watchdog or by reading our blog at

A consumer sent us a copy of a newspaper insert from HomeChoice today that raises some questions that I remember raising with HomeChoice in the past but I don't recall receiving a reply.

Firstly the insert gives prices entirely in South African Rands and not in Pula, the currency of Botswana. Other stores of South African origin advertise the prices in local currencies when outside of SA, can you advise me why HomeCHoice does not?

Secondly, while the Conditions make reference to the South African National Credit Act they do not refer to Botswana's Consumer Protection Act 1998 or the later Consumer Protection Regulations 2001. Both of these pieces of legislation apply to all purchases made in Botswana and cannot be waived without "specific consent".

Lastly, the advertisements in the insert are in breach of Botswana's Control of Goods (Marking of Goods) Regulations 1974. Section 6 of these Regulations states that:

"Where goods are offered for sale on hire-purchase terms or by way of credit-sale or on any other terms as to deferred payment the following details shall be displayed in addition to the prescribed details and in characters of similar size-
(a) the amount of any deposit;
(b) the amount of each instalment;
(c) the frequency of instalments;
(d) the total number of instalments; and
(e) the total amount to be paid by way of deposit and instalments."

As you can see, your advertisements (picture attached) do not display the total amount to be paid by way of deposit and instalments as required by Botswana law.

All other furniture and household stores that sell on credit in Botswana, including all the South African companies, now abide by this requirement with the exception of HomeChoice. Can you please advise when we can expect compliance from you?

With thanks in advance.

Richard Harriman
I'll let you know what they say.

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