Saturday, 8 February 2020

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can I get a refund?

We kindly need help with the following:

A day care centre in Orapa is refusing to refund us back the registration fee of P500. We paid in December 2019 and in January when we went to view the school facility we were not impressed with the reception of the owner gave us as he was too casual, not welcoming and did not give us any attention. We decided that it was not the school we were looking for and asked for the refund which we were only told today on the 29th January 2020 after 3 visits that we will not get. Their reason is we denied another potential kid space.

Please help us, advise us because in our view they were not disadvantaged by our change of hearts it was also influenced by their poor reception. Furthermore if we were informed either in writing or word of mouth that the fee was not refundable we would have paid with upfront knowledge but now the no refund is announced as an after thought and we feel it is not fair hence our cry for help.

Unfortunately, I think this is going to be difficult. The bad news is that it is normal practice to pay a deposit to reserve a place in a private school or daycare center and these deposits are usually non-refundable. That’s because the school sees that payment as a commitment from the parents that their child will be attending and that therefore reserve a place for them. It’s possible that they will have turned away other potential parents as a result.

I hope you won’t be offended when I say that it was unwise not to have visited the school before you paid the deposit. Obviously that way you would have discovered how unsuitable the center was for your child before you committed yourself.

However, I think this depends very much on what you agreed to. Did you sign anything when you paid the deposit? Were any terms and conditions shown to you? Did they send you any documents? If not, you might have a chance of persuading the owner that you never actually agreed to the non-refundable nature of the deposit. However, I don’t think you should be optimistic. I’m certainly not.

Can I get a refund too?

I need help because I don't know what to do. I bought a fridge on credit and I was supposed to pay in 12 months but I cleared my account in November 2019. In December they deducted the stop order, yet I had paid off the account. I've been going there, calling them demanding my refund. They told me they are not able to process the refund because the money the system shows I'm owed is lower than the one they deducted. Therefore they have to amend what their system reflects, that's when they can be able to process my refund.

This is the second month now, and I'm still told the same thing. What do I do in situations like this?

What should you do? I think it’s time to lose your temper.

I understand that mistakes happen, that’s because we’re human, not computers. Failing to correctly terminate your stop order was a mistake but I would be content to overlook that if they hadn’t then been so useless.

This business about the refund they owe you being less than the last instalment they took is just silly. Who cares? Why is that your problem? Why are they bothering you with their inability to do the simplest thing? How difficult can it be to update their computer system and give you the money you’re entitled to?

I think we should both remind this store that Section 14 (1) of the new Consumer Protection Act says very clearly that a supplier must offer services “in a manner and quality the consumers are reasonably entitled to expect”. That means we can’t expect miracles from any supplier but we are entitled to expect reasonably good service. A series of pathetic excuses about why their systems are too difficult to update is not reasonably good service.

I’ve emailed their Head Office and let’s see what they can do to help you.

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