Thursday, 10 March 2011
The Voice - Consumer's Voice
I went into a shop in Game city and bought a pair of designer jeans for P499. I then lay-byed another at the same value. Later I went to another store and I found the same jeans and they were about P150 cheaper than the price I had paid.
I went back to the first shop to tell them about the price differences and asked them to refund my money. The supervisor acknowledged that the other store was way cheaper than them and they had lost customers to them, but emphatically told me that they did not give refunds by way of money, only exchanges. There was nothing that I wanted and he told me that he could not assist me. As for the lay bye, he informed me that if I wanted to cancel, he would subtract 15% handling fee from the initial value, i.e. about P75. I told him that I thought he was unfair and he acknowledged this but still said it was a company rule and that they was nothing he could do to assist.
I insisted on talking to the manager but he said the manager was not available and out of the country. He offered to talk to his supervisor and request that they strike out the handling fee and give me the money that I had deposited with the lay-bye. I thought he would be doing me a favour by at least ensuring that I get something back even though I was still losing in the price difference. However the boss refused to do that.
Your advice please. Do I not have rights as a consumer to demand my money back when I decide I do not want something as long as I have a receipt and have not worn the item?
I’m sorry; I don’t think you do have that right. While a decent store might be reasonable and flexible in a case like yours I don’t think you can require them to be. Remember that the first store didn’t force you to buy from them. You freely gave them your money and got something in return. It’s the same with the lay-bye. You voluntarily entered into that agreement with them and paid them a deposit.
It’s not as if there’s anything wrong with the jeans you bought. If they had been faulty you would have a right to demand some action, either a replacement or a refund.
I think the lesson here is very clear. Shop around BEFORE you spend your money because otherwise it might be too late.
Dear Consumer’s Voice #2
I bought a bed from a store in 2009 and it soon developed faults. I reported the faults to the shop and they took a very long time to attend to it. Along the way I lost my job and couldn’t afford to pay for the bed and at the same time I had to go to school of which I am self-sponsored. I went to the shop and told them my story, requesting them to take back the bed or freeze the account until I finish school but they refused.
They took the bed in for repair around December 2009 and since then the bed was not brought back to me. They always call me asking me to pay for the bed, but how do I struggle through thick and thin to pay for something I’m not using. Please Consumer Watchdog advise me on this one.
There is very rarely any good news in these situations but you might be different.
When you sign a credit agreement you are committed. You’ve signed an agreement and that’s it, there’s no way to get out of it. What we often hear about are cases where people get into trouble and then ask the store to take things back and think they are then free from the debt. That’s simply not so. The store will auction the goods for a tiny amount but you’ll still be left with the outstanding debt.
Your case might just be different. Yes, you are clearly behind with your repayments but I think the store is just as guilty here. They took your bed for repair 15 months ago and haven’t given it back to you yet. That’s such a serious breach of your agreement with them that I think you’re even.
We’ll get in touch with the store and suggest that this might be one of those rare occasions where it’s probably best to write the whole thing off. Yes, they could probably make your life difficult but do they really want you to tell the world that they can’t even repair a bed that goes wrong? Do they want to be known as the store that can’t even make a decent bed?
I can’t make any promises but we’ll see what we can do.
Please don’t believe any emails you get that say they’re from the United Nations offering you compensation for previous scams. It’s a scam as well. Likewise don’t believe emails that come from total strangers suggesting friendship or “more”. They’re scams as well, all of them.
Above all, NEVER believe any email that you receive that appears to come from a bank that contains a link for you to click on. NEVER. No respectable bank will ask you to do this.