Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

Please assist me, I bought a product (Vaseline lotion 400ml) at a store on 3 September 2013 afternoon at value P37.95, only to find out this morning that they have an advert dated September 1-7, 2013 with the price of the same product at P24.95 and the promotion is valid from 19 August to 8th September 2013.

How may you guys help me.

Let’s count the number of ways in which this store has breached the Consumer Protection Regulations.

Section 13 (1) (e) of the Consumer Protection Regulations says that a "supplier who offers a commodity or service to a consumer fails to meet minimum standards and specifications if [...] the advertisement or representation of a commodity or service is made with the intent not to dispose of the commodity or service as advertised or represented."

Section 15 (1) (d) says that "A supplier of a commodity or of a service shall fail to meet minimum standards of performance if [...] the commodity or service is advertised with intent not to supply reasonably expected public demand, unless the advertisement discloses a limitation of quantity in immediate conjunction with the advertised commodity or service".

Section 17 (1) (a) says that "The following deceptive methods, acts or practices shall constitute acts of unfair business practice [...] making false or misleading statements of fact concerning the reasons for, existence of, or amounts of price reductions".

So at least three breaches of the Regulations. I suggest that you take the product back to the store and explain to them the error of their ways. If they don’t give you either a full refund or the difference in price then let me know!

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

How legal or ethical is this? I applied for a store card, where you can just purchase goods and pay for them later. I met all criteria but my application was declined, the reason being I don’t have a credit history in any retail store. In short, I always buy "small things", furniture included, for cash. They do not consider how I serviced my car loans, mortgages and personal loans as they only use history from retail shops not financial institutions. It has been more than 10 years since I became financially independent. They are not willing to be the first ones to start my "credit" history. Can I get any help anywhere??

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this. People with no history of bad payments are denied credit because they don’t have any history at all. It’s one of the ironies of store credit that someone with a poor history is more likely to get credit than someone with none. Obviously stores prefer people with a good credit history but those like you who have been prudent and sensible are disadvantaged because of that.

However I think that you should rejoice to be disadvantaged and instead of applying this card you should continue to be prudent. Continue to avoid credit agreements and always avoid store cards. They might seem convenient but they’re a very expensive way of obtaining things.

By doing so you’ll also avoid the variety of deceptions that are so often associated with store credit. You’ll avoid the failure to show you the contract before you sign it, you’ll avoid the perils of repossession if things go wrong and you’ll avoid paying more than double the cash price of the item. Above all you’ll avoid the risk of financial ruin.

Maybe you should thank the store for helping you avoid all of this? It might be the best thing they could have done for you!

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