Friday, 18 March 2016

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Must I pay?

A company approached my organization last year about their package of advertising our organization on their website. We asked them to bring a sample to organization, they did and I told them that I will have to consult management regarding this issue. In their samples the information they gave about the organization was limited and I had to collect more from my team to submit. While waiting I started receiving calls demanding for payments I asked them what payment as I have not yet approved nor sent them final details of what to include on the website. They told me that I have signed and agreed to the advert.

That is when another company started calling us asking us when we’ll pay them and sending us their bank details. They sent an invoice for R2,970.

We’ve dealt with the company who contacted you before. Their practice in the past was to invite people to advertise their businesses on their directory site and they would then fax the company a form confirming the details of their advertisement. What customers often didn’t notice was that the small print of the form committed them to a year-long contract, at that time for P295 every month. Regardless of what you said they would insist on that year’s payment. The contract even said “Thereafter the agreement shall continue for an indefinite period unless notice is given one month prior to the expiry of the initial period” so you might even end up committed for a lot longer.

Of course this is all unsupportable. Your entry on their preposterous web-based directory is trivial. All it shows is your company name, address, phone number and email address. How is that of any value in 2016 when your own web site has all that? And who actually uses an online directory site these days?

I suggest you email the company cancelling the deal, saying that you have no evidence that anyone with the necessary authority had the right to agree to the contract. Tell them that you don’t want your details in their directory and that you will not have any further contact with them. I’m certain they’ll just go away and leave you alone. I’ll be happy to contact them to confirm that this was our advice and they should stop bothering you and the rest of us.

Why must I pay him?

I need your advice on a certain estate agent with whom I had agreement with to sell my house for me in Mogoditshane since last year in October until I decided to cancel the sale agreement with them because I was not happy with their service, I had chase every time. I need feedback on the progress of the sale of my house. Now the agent expects me to pay him the entire amount of the 4% that he would charge if he has sold my house. When I ask him why doesn’t he have a cancellation fee instead of me paying the whole amount, he doesn’t give me an answer. Before I signed a mandate with them, I asked the other agent who is a partner to this agent about the cancellation fees and he told me there was a cancellation fee, Now the other guy is denying it and he says I should write a letter to them informing them that I’m cancelling the sale agreement and that I will pay them the agreed amount, but they are refusing to give me a copy of the mandate I signed with them before I decide to write them the letter of cancellation.

Is he serious? He failed to sell your house and yet he stills want to be paid? Would you pay a taxi driver for a journey you didn’t take? Would you pay a restaurant for a meal they didn’t serve? So why would you pay a real estate agent for selling a house that he didn’t sell?

Regardless of any nonsense about cancellation fees just write him a letter reminding him that he failed to do what he was hired to do and that he was in breach of Section 15 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations by failing to offer service “with reasonable care and skill”. Make it clear in the letter that you no longer require his services and will not be paying him a single thebe.

You should also contact the Real Estate Institute of Botswana and check with them that this guy is registered with them as the law requires. He also should be abiding by their code of conduct which I’m sure says that they should behave a lot better than this guy.

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