Friday, 26 August 2011

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I bought a phone on the 16th June, and after 3 weeks I started experiencing some problems with the phone and I took it back to the supplier on the 20th July.

They promised me the phone will be fixed in 3 days but they only called me after 2 weeks to tell me they failed to repair the phone so I must come back to have it replaced, which I did, when I got there I found out they were out of stock and they said they will call me when new stock arrived which they did on the 15th and I went there on the 17th August. Now my query is I bought the phone for P3,750 in June but when I got there to take/replace the phone they told me the value of the phone has depreciated to P3100 even though it’s still under guarantee, so I should get a P3100 phone. What can I do?

This is unacceptable. You bought what you had a right to believe was a brand new, perfectly functional phone. For P3,500 you had a right to expect perfection. The fact that it started misbehaving after just 3 weeks suggests to me that, unless you dropped it in the bath, the phone had an inherent fault. Section 13 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations 2001 says that a supplier:
“fails to meet minimum standards and specifications if … the commodity sold … is not of merchantable quality”.
Merchantable quality is defined by the Regulations as meaning:
“fit for the purposes for which commodities of that kind are usually purchased”.
An expensive phone that only lasts for 3 weeks is clearly not of merchantable quality.

You have a right to a replacement, or if that’s impossible, a refund. And as for that silliness about the value of the phone having depreciated? Rubbish. Pure, unadulterated, 100% rubbish. They owe you the amount you spent without any deductions for whatever reason. I suggest that you go back to the store and show them this newspaper. Make it perfectly clear to them that they have ignored your rights and that they must give you a full refund or, if you prefer, a phone of at least the same value as the one they can’t fix, at no extra charge.

If they don’t feel like cooperating and doing the decent thing, just let them know that Consumer would be delighted to name them for everyone to read.

[Update: The store manager heard about this, stepped in and fixed it. A phone of the same value was provided.]

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

On Sunday 24th July I bought a pair of shoes at a store in Game City. I paid with my Visa card. When I got home I found that the receipt was for P299 but the Visa slip was for P499 and this is the amount that has been debited from my account.

I returned to the shop on Monday 25th July to request a refund of P200 but the manager refused to give me a refund.

I am therefore contacting you to request what my rights are and if you can help with this dispute.

I think this is actually very simple. I assume that the price shown in the store was P299? You have a right to be charged the price the store advertises and which you agreed to pay. The store can’t just charge you a higher amount, either deliberately or by mistake. If they did this by mistake I would expect them to apologise and fix it as quickly as possible. If, however, they did it deliberately then the situation is more serious. The price advertised must be the price they charge you. If their advertising is incorrect then they had a responsibility either to tell you when you tried to pay for the shoes or again to fix it afterwards, without any hassle or delay. Refusing isn’t good enough.

I suggest that you go back to the store and give them a letter explaining that they have taken too much money from you and that you require a refund for the extra P200 within 7 days. If they fail to respond then let us know and we’ll get in touch with them and politely explain the importance of their reputation. That should work, don’t you think?

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