Friday 9 December 2011

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I have a problem with a generator I purchased which has never worked properly or consistently since day one of installation – leading to air conditioners blowing and numerous call-outs to my electrician to try to fix the problem.

I have made efforts to speak to the supplier about this and they are giving me lots of excuses. The manager has never returned my calls nor has he bothered to respond to the fax that I sent him requesting that they replace the generator. I find that unacceptable. The generator is and always has been under warranty and he’s trying to claim that it is all serviceable parts. I did not buy a generator so that I spend every month servicing parts or without electricity. I am not interested in any more repair jobs; I want the generator replaced.

Please could you intervene and get them to replace what should have been a properly functioning and useful generator, which I spent over P10,000 on in February this year? Obviously with the call-outs to my electrician I have now spent much more than this amount.

This sounds like a relatively simple problem to solve but this is also the sort of problem that can drag out, lasting longer and longer until the warranty expires and the supplier can try to refuse you a solution. I can imagine how it must be very tempting for a supplier to stall you when the problematic item is approaching the end of it’s warranty period. However this is exactly the time when you must try even harder to get a solution.

In your case this clearly sounds like a case when the supplier owes you a replacement. After that many repairs and callouts it’s obvious that this particular generator is not of “merchantable quality” as the Consumer Protection Regulations require. It’s quite simple. A generator must generate electricity and yours doesn’t.

We’ll get in touch with the supplier and see if they can’t find a solution for you.

Update: We emailed the supplier and 48 hours later they arrived at the reader’s door with a brand new generator. They’ve even promised to transfer the diesel remaining in the faulty one to the replacement. Not bad!

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

What are my rights when it comes to warranties? Our company bought 3 laptop computers for official and home use and the laptops are on warranty. Unfortunately one of them incurred a hard drive problem which is apparently a manufacturing problem and only the manufacturer can resolve it. We took the laptop to the supplier we bought it from so that they can replace it and transfer data from one to another to avoid loss of company information, then they refused. They say they must take the laptop to South Africa for repair and that will take 24 working days which is very inconvenient as the laptop has our accounts data on it. Actually we want them to give us another laptop so we can transfer the account software and data otherwise we will end up buying labour and licence to install the packages. Please supply us with information on how to deal with this problem. The laptops are HPs but we’ve now been advised that they are not original HPs.

This is very suspicious. The warranty situation is simple. The laptop you purchased is from one of the most reputable brands in the world and they offer a decent warranty and you’ll have a right to a repair or replacement. However, and this is a critical point, it’s up to the supplier to tell you which they’ll offer. If they can repair the laptop that’s probably what they’ll offer you.

This business about the laptops not being originals is confusing. Please send me the serial number and I’ll see what I can find out from HP. If the local supplier sold you what they suggested was an HP laptop but it turns out to be a fake then they are in deep trouble. Between you and me (and readers of The Voice) I know the company you bought the laptop from and they have a complicated legal history, having been prosecuted in the past for software piracy.

However, the bad news for you is that your accounts data is not their concern. It was entirely your responsibility to ensure that both the software and the data were suitably backed-up and ready to be reinstalled on another computer in this situation. You can’t really demand that the supplier fix that problem for you, this isn’t their responsibility.

Send us the details of your laptops and we’ll make some enquiries.

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