Saturday 8 May 2021

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

I want a working fridge!

I bought a second-hand fridge in February from someone in Block 3 who repairs and sells fridges. After two days it stopped working. I told him to come pick it and refund me, he promised do so, but even now, he didn't, and he not picking my calls, please help me.

Despite what people might think, just because something is second-hand, that doesn't mean you have no consumer rights if it goes wrong. Of course, we must understand that a second-hand or repaired item isn't going to be quite a good or reliable as something new and we need to have sensible expectations. For instance, a 15-year old car isn't going to be as reliable as a new vehicle. An old laptop isn't going to last as long as a new one. A reconditioned fridge isn't going to be quite as good as a new one. That's just common sense but while a second-hand item might not still have the manufacturer's warranty the person selling it should still be as clear as possible what condition the item is in.

However, Section 14 (1) (c) of the Consumer Protection Act says that a consumer is entitled to:
"the use, delivery or installation of goods that are free of defects and are of a quality that consumers are reasonably entitled to expect".
That's the important thing in my view, "reasonably entitled to expect". We can't expect a second-hand and repaired fridge to be as good as a new fridge but I think we're "reasonably entitled to expect" a fridge that works reasonably well. It should certainly work for more than two days.

I contacted the fridge guy and asked him what he was planning to do to resolve this situation. All he could say was:
"Yeah only things wre not right bt dafnately by end of this months without failure lm going to give hr wht is hers of or before cs l delayed wth a project tht we wre doing".
I hope his fridge-mending skills are better than his keyboard skills. If you're willing, let's give him until the end of the month and see if he can do the decent thing.

I was sold a stolen laptop!

A guy in Palapye, a student at BIUST, he sells stolen items. He sold us a laptop for P7,500 in November. The Police called us and took it from us claiming it's a stolen item. The guy promised to make things right, to change it or return the money but up to this day he has done nothing. Now he doesn't even pick the calls, he's just a scammer.

This is serious. This is more than just a consumer issue, more than just a failure to offer good customer service. This isn't just a breakdown in communication or a failure to respect someone's consumer rights, this is receiving stolen goods and Section 317 of the Penal Code is very clear about the penalty for this. It says that any person
"who receives or retains any property knowing or having reason to believe the same to have been stolen … is guilty of an offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years".
I contacted the guy in Palapye and he didn't seem very concerned. He just said "the supplier isnt responding keeps postponing. he is in gabz". Unfortunately, I don't care. He sold you a stolen laptop and whether he was involved in the theft or not, he needs to treat this issue seriously and resolve it as quickly as possible.

If this guy has any sense, he'll do his best to distance himself from his supplier and give the impression he's an innocent victim of the criminal as well as you are. The best way he can do this is to give you either a full refund or a laptop that hasn't been stolen. Is that too much to ask? Or does he want to experience 14 years of official hospitality?

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