Friday, 4 September 2015

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can I get my deposit back?

This communication serves to request your help to follow up a company I paid P3,000 as a deposit on a car I wanted to buy but had a change of mind later that day. The following day when I told them I wanted my money back they initially refused but later said they can only pay me back after they have sold that car with my authorization for them to sell it in writing. I went on and made an affidavit authorizing them to sell the car as all I wanted was my money. One of them called me saying they wont refund me they would rather pay me only P2,000 of the P3,000 deposit.

Unfortunately I suspect you’re in a rather difficult position here. My dictionary defines a deposit as “a sum payable as a first installment on the purchase of something or as a pledge for a contract, the balance being payable later”.

The purpose of a deposit is mainly to hold something for you until you pay the balance of the purchase price. In effect it’s the first part of the payment for the vehicle. It was your guarantee to the dealer that you were going to come back soon with the rest of the money and that they shouldn’t sell it to anyone else. You are of course within your rights to change your mind but you can’t just demand the deposit back, it’s their money now.

Given this I think you’re probably lucky that the dealer is prepared to offer you anything back. That initial offer of refunding you when (and if) they find another buyer was probably rather generous of them. I suspect that the reduced offer of only P2,000 might still be a good deal given the fuss they’ve had to go through.

The lesson is a simple one. Only pay a deposit when you are sure that you’re happy never to get it back.

Is this safe?
I bought a product called Jigsimur which is described as a Health Drink made mainly of Aloe Vera. Said to be good for Diabetes, among numerous ailments as described.

After taking a few doses as prescribed in the label, I started to experience health problems that I did not have before. I wanted to seek advice from the seller, but they do not have anyone qualified to advice on this so called health drink. So, I asked the Supermarket to take the two bottles that I purchased and refund my money. The Manager insisted that I should produce the ‘till slip’ to accept the product back. I cannot find the till slip, besides no other super market, here, sells this particular product.

There is one un-opened bottle, and one more than ¾ of a bottle with me. Please advise as to how I can return the bottles and get my money back.

I think that the best way to get a refund is to point out to the store that by advertising and selling this product they are breaking the law. To begin with it is contrary to Section 15 (1) (b) of the Consumer Protection Regulations if a supplier promises “outcomes where those outcomes have no safe scientific, medical or performance basis”. The simple fact is that there is precisely no scientific evidence that aloe vera has any health-giving properties at all. According to the US National Institutes of Health with the exception of being a good laxative there “is not enough scientific evidence to support aloe vera for any of its other uses”.

What’s even worse is that there is some evidence that if swallowed it can cause severe health problems. It can cause cancer in rats and abdominal cramps and diarrhea in humans.

The store needs to know that it’s more serious than just a breach of the Consumer protection Regulations. It is contrary to Sections 396-399 of the Penal Code of Botswana to offer to sell any medicine or treatment for a number of critical disorders and illnesses specifically including diabetes.

I think you need to go back to the store and explain this and then go to your doctor for a check up to establish whether this bogus and illegal concoction has caused you any damage.

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