Sunday, 25 July 2010

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I took my faulty plasma TV to Domestic Engineering (Pty) Ltd on the 28th May. I paid a non-refundable deposit of P200. After they assessed the TV they phoned me to tell me that it was going to cost me a total of P2,800 to repair. I agreed and gave them the go-ahead. I gave them an advance payment of P2,000 the following week on the condition that the parts will be shipped as soon as possible. It then took about 3 weeks for the parts to arrive. Once they had done the repair they told me that the cost was now P1,000 more, a total of P3.800.

When I went to collect the TV the manager refused to give it to me until I paid them the entire cost, whether I agreed with the new cost or not.

What can I do?

You can tell them where to put that new quote, that’s what you can do. When you gave them authorisation to go ahead with the repair based on the original quote of P2,800 you agreed a contract with them and they agreed to the contract with you. They have broken the agreement you formed with them by demanding extra money.

I think you should tell them that Consumer Watchdog and The Voice now know about this story and about their beach of contract. You can tell them that we have consulted the Consumer Watchdog legal advisors (who eat companies like this for breakfast) and they say the situation is perfectly clear. They simply cannot demand all that extra money. They agreed a price of P2,800 to repair the TV and that’s it. If they made a mistake it’s their fault, not yours. Perhaps if they had come to you with an apology and asked politely for a little extra we might have suggested you just pay it for a quiet life but that’s not the case.

I suggest you offer them a couple of hundred extra just to get your TV back but if they refuse tell them that you will take the case to the Small Claims Court. Maybe they will have heard that this new court seems to be very effective. Several consumers we know have taken their problems to this new court and have had rapid, effective justice. Do this company want to end up there with a judgement against them? Do they really want their name in The Voice again?

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

I lay-byed a king-size bed at Sefalana Home in Orapa on the 22nd March worth P5,500. I paid them a deposit of P1,000, leaving a balance of P4,500.

Over the next few months I paid off another P2,000 leaving a balance of P2,500. On the 27th May I went to pay another P1,000 but when I got there I realized my bed was not there. I asked the lady whom I made the original lay-bye with and she told me not to worry since the bed is coming very soon. I reminded her that June will be my last month to clear the lay-bye and I will be paying the whole balance but she told me not to worry.

On the 17th June I went back to the shop and told them that the next week I will be coming to take my bed and she kept on telling me not to worry and that the bed will be there.

On the 23rd of June I came with money to clear the balance but they told me that the bed had been sold. They suggested to me that the bed was now reduced in price to P4,000 but they still didn’t have the bed. They admitted that they should have marked the bed as a lay-bye but they hadn’t.

They promised me a better bed but until today nothing has been delivered.

Whose fault is it, do I have to pay an extra money after the whole inconvenience I went through?

It’s not your fault, not at all. This is another example of a breach of contract. You agreed to pay them the price of the bed over an agreed period and they agreed to set it, or an identical bed, aside for you and then give it to you once you had paid the agreed amount

They failed you. They have broken their agreement with you. I suggest that you demand a full refund, with interest for the period they had your money. We’d be happy to help you with the calculations if you like.

If they refuse you should also threaten them with the Small Claims Court.

And Consumer Watchdog and The Voice!

A Hyundai update

Voice readers may recall that we reported a few weeks ago about the Hyundai driver whose car broke down in October last year in Rustenberg so she sensibly took it to the local Hyundai dealership for repair. By June she still didn’t have her car back, despite picking it up twice, only to have it break down both times within Rustenberg and having paid them R20,000. She even had to buy a new car so she could get to work.

So has anything happened since we reported?

Yes. They now want another R6,500 for yet another repair. They offered to reduce the new bill to a mere R6,000 as a gesture of good faith but we think that’s simply not good enough.

What else has happened? Have we received a reply, or even an acknowledgment from the MD of Hyundai South Africa since we emailed him with a complaint?

No. Alan Ross, the MD of Hyundai South Africa, doesn’t appear to think that consumers in Botswana matter. What do YOU think?

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