Friday, 15 February 2013

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I have been admitted at Atlantic International University, (900 Fort Street Mall, Honolulu, Hawaii) to study masters degree in engineering through distance learning. What I want now is for you to help me confirm if the school is not fake.

Sorry, I can’t do that. I’m afraid you’ve “been admitted” to a fake university. This is what they say on their web site:


So it’s not actually accredited. Amusingly, the agency that they claim has accredited them is itself not a real accreditation agency.

Roughly translated that means that AIU is a fake university accredited by a fake organization. Simple as that. Degrees from AIU are therefore worthless and won't be recognized in Botswana. You shouldn’t waste your money, your time or your reputation. You should also realize that if you ever got a job or a promotion using a fake degree like theirs you’d be a criminal. You’d have committed a fraud against your employer, just like anyone who obtains a financial advantage by lying.

A final question. Why, if they are based in Hawaii, do they call themselves "Atlantic International University"? Hawaii is in the Pacific Ocean, not the Atlantic. Is it perhaps because the name "Pacific International University" has already been taken by another diploma mill?

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

In December, I made a laybye at a shoe shop for 3 pairs of shoes. Each pair costs P350. On 27th December they phoned me to collect my shoes which I did. On the 8th of January, I went back to the shop because two of those pairs sole were coming out. It was like the glue was not dry. I showed one of the shop assistants who called the manager. The manager told me that there is nothing they can do because it seems as if its a factory fault, and since they get their stock from Cape Town its not easy to take them back. Then she asked me to take the shoes to the repairers and bring back the receipt of which I did. When I got to the repairers they told me that I am not the first customer from that store with the same problem, but they managed to help me to replace the whole sole and the elastic.

I was charged P147 to replace the sole for 2 pairs and P39 for the elastic. I took back the shoes to them on 6th Feb where I met a different manager who told me that she doesn’t know anything about my issue and that I should check the one I spoke to earlier on in the afternoon. I couldn’t make it that afternoon and on Thursday 7th February I went there and found her. She said she can’t remember telling me to fix the shoes and that she is phoning her director which she did. After phoning her Director she told me that there is nothing they can help me with because that is not company policy.

I’m amused when I hear of companies who think they can adopt a policy which says “We will ignore the law”.

Frankly I don’t care about this store’s problems with returning goods to the suppliers in Cape Town and nor should you. You bought these shoes from the store in Gaborone, it’s the store in Gaborone that needs to fix the situation, not anyone else. Who they send the shoes to for repair or replacement is not your concern.

OK, perhaps it IS your concern when a store ignores it’s responsibilities to it’s customers. You’re the one left without your shoes.

It IS a concern when a store ignores Section 13 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations which require them to sell products “of merchantable quality”. The Regulations explain that this means “fit for the purposes for which commodities of that kind are usually purchased”. In other words shoes are meant for walking in so that’s what they should do. They shouldn’t fall apart within just a few days. If they do, then you deserve one of the “3 Rs”: a refund, replacement or repair. Saying “it’s not our policy” is not one of the “3 Rs”.

With you permission I’ll get in touch with the store and politely explain that they need to think again about their approach to faulty goods. Wish me luck!

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