Saturday, 20 July 2019

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can I get my money back?

Last month I bought a ticket for my niece from Ethiopian Airlines to travel from Botswana to London in June and return in August. When she reached the airport she was told she doesn't have the necessary paperwork to allow her to travel and will have to travel at a later date. The next week when we wanted to rebook with all the paper work now we were told that we have to pay P2000 to rebook of which we were never told about from the beginning. We decided to cancel the whole trip and seek a refund and we were told the ticket was non-refundable. The value of the ticket was close to P8000.

Please do advice accordingly your help will be appreciated.

I don’t think I’m going to make you any happier.

International sounds glamorous but it’s much more likely to be a stressful experience, even when things go well. In this case the stress you niece experienced must have been overwhelming.

However, here’s the problem. There are various reasons why an airline might prevent someone from boarding the flight they’ve already paid for. Maybe their identity documents don’t exactly match the booking that was made? I know it seems petty but things like the spelling of your name, whether you include middle names and initials, ID and passport numbers all matter. If they’re not exactly the same as those given when the booking was made, then you might have problem.

Then there are the immigration requirements that various nations impose. Some demand that you can prove you have enough money to get by while you’re in their country. Others need proof of the address where you’ll be staying. Some demand a letter from the person or organisation hosting you. Many demand that you have a return ticket showing that you really mean to leave their country. Remember also that if you’re going on a journey which goes through a country in between your home and your final destination then the intervening country might also demand these things.

The other thing to remember is that if someone reaches their destination and is refused entry, it is often the airline that transported them that is forced to pay for the return flight. Airlines will then try and recover that cost from the passenger. That’s why they can be so strict at check-in.

The lesson is ALWAYS to check with the country you flying to, the countries through which you transit AND the airline what documents you need to provide. Then check again. Most countries have this material online but it’s also a good reason why an experienced travel agent can be very helpful.

Are these claims real?

Richard, what are your thoughts on this that I was sent. It’s from a local Facebook page.

My thoughts? They’re bad ones. My emotions? Anger, irritation, outrage and fear. I’m angered that people are advertising such dangerous nonsense that poses a real threat to health. Longrich agents have a long history of making illegal claims about the products they market but these claims are some of the worst I’ve seen.

Let’s face some simple facts. These magical, apparently magnetic panty liners are utter nonsense. There is no evidence that they can do anything that the advertisers claim. The only thing that can deal with a hormonal imbalance or an irregular ovulation cycle, that can unblock fallopian tubes, remove fibroids, reset “a displaced womb” and address infertility is medicine. Real medicine, not this illegal hogwash.

Yes, this IS illegal. Sections 396-399 of the Penal Code outlaw the “prohibited advertisements” that offer such treatments. They also breach various consumer protection laws by making false claims and they are also totally ignoring BOMRA, the Medicines Regulatory Authority who I’m sure will be outraged that such lies are being spread by Longrich distributors.

It’s also incredibly dangerous. Someone suffering these complaints urgently needs to consult a doctor rather than buy bogus products from the liars making these claims. If just one person fails to consult a doctor thinking that Longrich products can treat their disorders and suffers as a result, then these distributors have blood on their hands.

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