Saturday 4 May 2024

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Where's my refund?

Hi Richard please help your sister out. I bought a bed from a furniture store. I used it for three months and the base broke. I went back to report the issue. The assistant manager showed us the letter where they say they should replace the bed. The letter was in October last year and I did complain before. Richard I spent the whole year sleeping on the floor and my records shows I was paying them nicely. Last week I went to Gaborone head office to complain more. They took a week again to come back to me. They told me that they want to give me another bed and my reply to them is I don't want anything from their shop. I want them to refund me so I can go buy somewhere else. It looks like they won't refund me.

Almost every day I wonder how some companies survive. So many of them seem to have absolutely no understanding how to deal with customers when things go wrong. They also seem to have no understanding of the laws that protect consumers.

Section 15 of the Consumer Protection Act says that consumers are entitled to receive "goods which are of good quality, in good working order and free of defects". In other words, the things we buy should do what they're meant to do. A bed should be suitable for sleeping in and shouldn't break.

However, sometimes things go wrong and Section 16 of the Act deals with this. It says that if goods are faulty we can return them to the store:
"within six months after the delivery of the goods".
It then says that the store can then choose to:
"repair or replace the defective goods or refund the consumer the amount already paid".
Although the Act doesn't say how quickly a store must do this, I'm sure we all agree that 6 months is too long. Your bed should have been replaced or repaired within days, not half a year. I'll contact the store and see if they can move a little faster than this.

Can I get a refund too?

Please help me on this issue. I bought a couch last September for P7,000. Then in December 2023 I realized that it had torn stitches. I called the shop to tell them and they came to see it and said the person who fixes such is on a holiday so they'll come and fetch it in January 2024. January passed but they never came. I went back to them on the 5th March and met with the manager and they said I should bring it to the shop. I refused till the manager ruled that they will collect it. They collected it on 6th March then on 7th the driver called and said the supplier insisted I should come collect the couch and wash it before they fix it. Then I said No I didn't buy the item from a supplier but from them and coming to recollect it will be a cost on me. On 8th April I did a follow up and they said they've long asked me to come collect it and wash it. I don't know why they can't at least return my money because I bought it cash not even on high purchase. I talked to the manager and he says he will give me feedback during the day and on the 12th April I called again then they said the manager is busy. Please help me Sir.

How can this be so complicated? As far as I can see, the situation is very simple. They sold you a couch that started to fall apart and they should have fixed that quickly. Their accusation that the couch was dirty is a distraction. Their job was to sell you a couch that was usable and to fix it if it wasn't.

However, there's good news. I contacted the Country Manager for the chain of furniture stores and his response to his colleagues was very simple. He told them that "This is poor customer service" and demanded immediate action.

Please let me know when they contact you.

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