Sunday 24 October 2021

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can I change my mind?

Good day. Kindly assist. I purchased 8 dispensers from a company in Block 8. I was supposed to supply them to my client but when I got to their end the user didn't want it.

The same day I contacted the company I bought from, for exchange or refund since my client didn't want it but upon contacting the company they told me that they already used the funds. Today as I was making a follow up regarding the refund, the sales officer said there is no refund according to the manager.

I have a screenshot where the sales rep said that and my communication with the manager. I would really appreciate if I can be assisted because I need to supply my client asap.

I'm sorry but I'm not sure I can give you any good news.

The Consumer Protection Act says that you are entitled to a refund only if the goods you received were faulty or if they misled you somehow. Even then, you can't normally insist on a refund until the store has tried to repair or replace the item you bought. There is no immediate right to demand a refund, only the right to receive what you thought you were buying or a refund if they can't offer that.

In your case, unless I've misunderstood, the correct goods were supplied to you at the agreed time, at the right price and in good condition. The store has actually done everything a consumer might expect.

The problem is that there is no connection between your purchase of the goods from your supplier and your deal to supply the same goods to your client. The fact that your client then changed their minds isn't the fault of the company you bought the goods from.

In future in your position I would try to negotiate with a supplier that you can return the goods if they're not wanted, or agree with your client that they can't change their mind. Next time you should ask for a purchase order from your client that commits them to paying your invoice.

I want a working phone!

I bought a phone for P345 from a store in Rail Park Mall on the 28th. I realized the keypad isn't working. After the holidays I took it back and they tried to fix it. I even left it for a day or 2 with them but still it wasn't working. On Thursday last week then they only told me they will have to take it back to the manufacturer or where they bought it. I tried to explain that I can't stay without a phone as I need the phone to provide services for my business. The man who was assisting me then told me they will take it for 7 working days for fix, and they can't give me another phone as their warranty card says no refund and no exchange.

Here we go again. Another store that makes things up. I've heard from so many consumers who are told by stores, most often cellphone stores, that "there is no refund" and "there is no exchange".

But that's not a decision they're entitled to make. The Consumer Protection Act is clear that refunds and exchanges are most certainly option that any supplier MUST consider. They can't just deny their obligations under the law. In fact, there's a word for people that do that. Any guesses?

I suggest that we both approach this store and explain to them that they can't make up rules that satisfy their needs and don't satisfy the needs of their customers and the law. Do they really want the Competition and Consumer Authority on their case? Do they really want readers of The Voice to know how little they value their customers?

Finally, do they really want to be reminded that the maximum penalties for breaking the Consumer Protection Act are "a fine not exceeding P50 000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or to both".

Well, do they?

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