Friday, 8 March 2013

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I engaged a company to provide a tent and décor for my wedding which was scheduled for this past weekend. I paid a deposit of P13,000 but in December I received a message that due to circumstances beyond their control they could not go on with our wedding. They promised to refund our full deposit in four days which they never did, even to this date. Every time I call the lady who was assisting me she gives an excuse for delaying our refund.

I have lost patience with them and I want to lodge a criminal case against them. In fact I have been reliably informed that this qualifies as both criminal and civil case. They caused us a great inconvenience as we had to re-schedule our wedding. I am sick of it.

Kindly advise.

You have been patient enough with these people.

The good news is that if you need to take legal action against them you're within the limits of the Small Claims Court which covers issues up to P15,000. The Small Claims Court is also a VERY useful mechanism for smaller cases. They’re fast, efficient and offer us normal people access to the law without vast expense.

I contacted the company, Funktionality Event Gurus, on your behalf and I’m afraid their reply wasn’t very good. The owner SMSed me saying: “I am aware of my debt with […]. Currently i am having a financial crisis but i am working on sourcing her money and refunding her fully in 2 weeks time.”

I don’t think that’s good enough. You’ve already waited for more than two months and that’s enough. I suggest you go to the Small Claims Court as soon as you can. Take all the paperwork with you and present your case to them. Let me know how it goes.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

I’m paying for a bed from a furniture store. The problem is the bed is not in a good condition right now because when I sleep on it I can feel the springs inside which means I’ve to put more blankets on it so I can feel comfortable. I approached the manager and complained about this but she told me that that’s how the bed is and next time when I buy I must check the quality of the bed before I can buy. The bed has not finished even 6 months.

They were joking, right? How exactly are you meant to check the quality of a bed before buying it? The only way I can think you can do that is to spend the night in the showroom before buying it. Is this a new service they offer?

I’ll get in touch with the store and see if they can’t come up with a better solution. It should involve respecting Section 13 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations that require them to sell products that are “of merchantable quality”. A bed that is so uncomfortable that you can’t sleep properly on it isn’t good enough. Let me know if you hear from them.


A couple of weeks ago we reported on the “Non-travel travel agent”. He took a reader’s money and printed tickets for a once-in-a-lifetime holiday but neglected to actually pay the airlines their share of the money. The family got as far as Joburg before they were stopped from boarding their next plane at the gate and were forced to return home to Botswana and buy all the tickets again, costing P70,000. I’d already heard from another customer who had the same experience, losing P15,000. I’ve now heard from yet another customer of this company, Travel Options, who are based at Molapo Crossing in Gaborone. This last victim lost P30,000 in the very same circumstances. She eventually got her money back but only after a year of struggling and support from the Police.

It’s not often that I name a company like this but when they turn out to be serial customer abusers readers of The Voice deserve to be warned.


Kabo from Game City for “outstanding service” and for going out of his way to help a customer.

Also Motheo Ofentse at Barclays G-West Industrial for “exceptional service rendered” and for going “out of his way to ensure maximum satisfaction.”

Keep the celebrations coming in!

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