Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I bought a Blackberry at a certain shop in Gaborone and it lasted for 3 weeks. I took it back to the shop and it has been one long battle. They claimed the software needed to be replaced but then they changed the screen of the phone with a scratched and old one and I refused to take it. I now want my money back or at least a new phone. Its been there for 3 weeks and I am stranded without a phone.

What are my rights as a consumer on this issue?

Your consumer rights are actually quite simple. Section 13 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations says that you have a right to products and services that are “or merchantable quality” which the law defines as meaning “fit for the purposes for which commodities of that kind are usually purchased, as it is reasonable to expect in light of the relevant circumstances”.

Section 15 (1) (a) of the same regulations also require a supplier to offer services “with reasonable care and skill”.

The Regulations go on to say lots of other things that might be relevant but those are the two that matter. Your cellphone store has failed you on both of these issues and I think you’ve been patient enough.

I think you should write them a letter explaining that they have breached both of these regulations and giving them 7 days to remedy the situation or you’ll be asking for support from the Consumer Protection Unit, the City Council, The Voice and Consumer Watchdog.

You should also tell them that they have failed to repair the phone suitably so you will only accept either a complete refund or an entirely new phone. Let me know how they react?

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

I bought some electronics online from china from a web site I paid and I never received my goods. After receiving my money they never responded to my emails and their online chat went down. They sent me some DHL tracking number which does not exist. Right now their website does not exist. These guys are scammers they robbed me. Please try investigate further about them.

I’m sorry but it’s too late, you’ve been scammed. The web site is indeed now offline and I don’t think you stand any chance of getting your money back.

Although the site is now unavailable I took a look at an archived copy of it and although it looked normal the big clue was the prices they were offering. For instance they were offering an Apple MacBook for $640. The very same model is on sale by Amazon in the USA for $1,210, almost twice as much. I know there are bargains around if you look for them but there are no half-price MacBooks anywhere.

There are comments on a variety of web sites that this site was a scam but they were well hidden by the scammers. A common practice by scammers is to post many links on the web so that when you do a Google search for something you are forced to go through pages and pages of links the scammers have created themselves. In this case I had to go through 20 pages of Google hits before I could find any hint it was a scam.

The only hope would be if you’d paid them using an insured means of payment like your credit card. However let me gamble and guess that they demanded payment using Western Union?

I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful in this case. The lesson for everyone else is NEVER to buy things from a site you don’t trust and NEVER to pay for any purchase using Western Union.

No comments: