Friday 25 April 2008

The Voice - Dear Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice


I recently bought a cellphone from a popular phone store.  Everything was fine with the phone except it already contained someone else’s contacts and text messages.  When I bought it I assumed that the phone was new but this suggests that the phone was actually second-hand.


What can I do?  Can I return the cellphone and insist on a new one?


Yes you can.  You most certainly can.  We’ve heard about this sort of thing many times and often about this particular chain of stores.  Several people have contacted us with the same experience.  They bought what they were led to believe was a new phone only to find evidence that someone else had previously used it.  Some, like you, found contacts and text messages, others even found photos and videos.


It seems very clear.  Either the phone is in fact second-hand or perhaps someone at the store has been using it themselves before selling it to you.  Either way the Consumer Protection Regulations say that a store is in deep trouble.  If they claim something is new “when in fact it has deteriorated, or it has been altered, reconditioned, used or is second hand” they are in for trouble.


Someone once told us that it is common for this chain of stores to buy large quantities of second-hand phones from other countries, import them to Botswana and then sell them as new.  We have no hard evidence of this yet but perhaps our readers can supply it?


You should go back to the store immediately and demand a replacement or a complete refund.  If they give you even the slightest trouble get in contact with us and we’ll give them a call and explain the error of their ways.  If we can get enough people who have had the same experience from that store we’ll expose the whole thing, including the names of the store and of it’s owners and directors.  Maybe some public same will help them shape up!


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