Thursday 29 October 2009

The Voice - Dear Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice 

I hope you will be able to assist me. In January 2009 I went to Supreme Furniture store and bought a lounge suite on credit for 1 year which will end in December 2009. In February I went back to them to complain about the lounge suite. It took them 4 months to address my complaint after I complained and it was only in June that they finally took my chairs for 6 weeks after they told me that it will only take a week for them to fix the chairs. When they finally returned the chairs they weren’t properly done. They took the sofas for 2 two weeks but still the sofas are not properly done. I complained again and again but to this date they have not responded.

Can you help?

Yes, we can!

This is quite clear. Supreme sold you something that clearly wasn’t “fit for the purpose” as they are required to do by The Consumer Protection Regulations. If you can’t sit on a chair or a sofa only a month after buying it then clearly it’s not of “merchantable quality” and they’ve failed to meet their legal obligations. I also think that by taking so long to fix your furniture (and finally failing to do so) you could argue that they’ve also failed to render a service with “suitable care and skill” as also required by the Regulations.

Surely this would have been a situation where they should just have replaced your goods?

We got in touch with the MD of Supreme and the good news is that he told us you will be getting entirely new furniture from them. It’s a shame this didn’t happen when you first raised the problems but better late than never I suppose.

Let us know when this happens?

Some updates

Expired goods

Last week we reported on the case of the store that had sold a consumer expired baby porridge. She bought it in September and only noticed that it had expired 2 months earlier when her baby got food poisoning and ended up desperately unwell. She approached the store and had apparently been offered a totally non-magnificent P17 (yes, seventeen Pula) in compensation but the store had refused to cover the medical expenses. They said they would be in touch when they processed an insurance claim but following that the consumer reported that they had proved rather elusive.

We got in touch with the store, Spar Meriting in Francistown, to see what they were going to do. The store admitted that this incident had happened and assured us that all the expired products had been removed from their shelves as soon as they found out about the problem. However it’s still a little worrying that the goods were on the shelves for TWO MONTHS before anyone noticed. I thought that stores checked these things. In fact I KNOW that stores usually check these things.

The store also told us that they were going to offer the consumer TWICE the purchase cost of the goods. Yes, that’s a massive P34. However on top of that they are indeed going to process an insurance claim to compensate the consumer for the medical bills they incurred treating their baby. They’d better. We’ll let you know when they’ve done this.

GNLD update

Last week we answered a consumer’s question about GNLD, a network marketing company who sell vitamins and supplements. A number of their distributors called us and criticised us for suggesting that consumers should steer clear of any network marketing scheme. I also don’t think they liked us reporting that, on average, about three quarters of all people who get involved in one of these schemes either make no money or end up poorer. Those that do make any money usually make so little that it’s not worth the bother. We also pointed out that unless you are already sick, immuno-compromised or pregnant you don’t need to swallow vitamin pills. Spend the money on fresh fruit and vegetables instead; you’ll be healthier, happier and wealthier.

One caller asked a question that I promised to answer in The Voice. Who allows us to criticise GNLD? The answer is simple, free speech in a democracy allows us. No, in answer to the caller’s other questions we’re not registered as a society, an NGO or (this was the insulting bit) a Government department. Consumer Watchdog is a division (yes, it IS registered with the Registrar of Companies) of a privately owned company. We don’t need a licence to criticise GNLD, we don’t need Government permission and we certainly don’t need GNLD’s permission.

University of SouthCentral Los Angeles

There’s still no response from this pretend university that says it is in Los Angeles but in fact is registered in the British Virgin Islands and sells PhDs for $850 and who got cross when we revealed their scam.
The Voice and Consumer Watchdog 1 : Fake Universities 0.

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