Friday, 1 March 2013

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I hired a local company to shoot video and pictures at my wedding last year. The total cost was meant to be P4,000 and I paid P1,500 as a deposit.

The coverage was scheduled to last for 3 days with the second day being the main event. Unfortunately the company didn’t show up for the event in the morning of the second day missing the whole church service.

Now the company insists on full payment of the balance, which I feel isn’t fair. It is therefore that, in light of the above, I ask for your intervention and assistance.

I’m afraid that my first reaction was simple. Don’t pay them. They failed to attend perhaps the most important part of your wedding and they have caused you, I imagine, a lot of disappointment and frustration. You’ve already given them nearly half the amount you agreed and they can go without the rest.

Then I became a little bit more thoughtful and I suggest something slightly different. Give them some money. Not all of it, just some of the remaining balance. In this situation I think you need to be seen as “Mr Reasonable” so write them a letter saying that you hired them to photograph and video your ENTIRE wedding, not just certain parts of it. Explain to them that the bit they missed was the most important part of your wedding and you therefore feel obliged only to pay them part of the agreed sum. Remind them that you’ve already paid them a P1,500 deposit and you feel it’s reasonable therefore not to pay them the full outstanding balance.

In your letter you should use the phrase “breach of contract” as often as possible and remind them that Section 15 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations requires them to deliver services “with reasonable care and skill”.

Attach to your letter a cheque for P500 and say that this is all you think is reasonable to pay them given that they breached their contract with you. Don’t forget to mention that you contacted us about it and copy the letter to us.

And one other thing. Tell everyone you know how badly they let you down.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

I took my cell phone for repair at the end of January. After a week they phoned me to say my phone is fixed and I should go and collect it. Two weeks later I went to collect it and to pay them.

The lady at the customer care department told me that my cell phone couldn’t be fixed as they only repair faults up to level two and mine is a problem level 3. This explanation was not satisfactory to me but unfortunately I could not get a better answer. I therefore requested to take my phone back and the lady brought it from the service department when she presented my phone to me I realized that the cover was broken. I explained to her that this is not the state I brought my phone to them. Unfortunately once again I did not get satisfactory answers to what has happened, I simply refused to take my phone back and asked them to follow it up and get back to me. Until now I have received no call or whatsoever from them. 
Please advise me on how to proceed in this matter

It’s time to write them a letter.

This business about Level 2 and Level 3 is a distraction. They can either fix it or they can’t and if they can’t they need to explain why they can’t. Write them a letter asking for an explanation and politely demanding to know when you can have your phone back. Make sure they know you’ve contacted us for advice, it might give them a little extra encouragement to respond promptly.

Also you should send us their contact details and we’ll add our “Voice” as well.

Here’s a tip whenever you hand things over for repair. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a cellphone, a computer or a car, before you hand it over take a few pictures with your phone showing its general condition. It’ll only take a minute but it might save you a fortune if the repairer damages it.


From a reader, who contacted us with comments about BoswanaPost. “I would love to give recognition to the Post Office at Poso House Gaborone, the service there is super excellent from the security guard to the tellers. I was amazed at how willing they are to work and go out of their way to help a customer.”

Keep the celebrations coming in!

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