Tuesday, 11 October 2011

What is a refund?

My copy of the Oxford Quick Reference Dictionary defines the verb "refund" as "pay back (money or expenses)". Another defines the noun as "a repayment of a sum of money".

However Woolworths in Botswana think differently. Their till receipts clearly say:
"We will gladly refund or exchange any item in a saleable condition within 60 days, provided you have the original till slip."
However when customers in Botswana take items back they are told that the offer of a "refund" only applies in South Africa, not in Botswana and that we have to live with either a voucher or exchange instead. No, sorry, the policy is what Woolworths have put in writing and given to the customer, not something else they've decided and not told customers BEFORE they complete the transaction.

By refusing to honour the policy they have given the customer in writing Woolworths have breached Section 17 (1) (d) of the Consumer Protection Regulations 2001 which says:
"1. The following deceptive methods, acts or practices shall constitute acts of unfair business practice -
(d) causing a probability of confusion or of misunderstanding as to the legal rights,
obligations, or remedies of a party to a transaction"
We've spoken to Woolworths today and did they say they're going to start honouring their own policy? No, on the contrary, they say they're just going to change their till receipts to offer us a lower level of service than our South African cousins.


Why do we put up with it?

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