Friday 16 December 2011

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I bought a fridge in November 2011 and my first installment is due this month. However the fridge is still in wraps and I have never used it. I feel I don’t really need a 2nd fridge and I must have bought it on impulse. Can I return the fridge and have the debt cancelled or am I stuck with it?

Every detail was explained to me and I don’t have any complaints against the vendor and I totally accept full responsibility for the blame, I am just hoping since I have all the papers and the product is still in wraps and boxes maybe I can strike a compromise with the vendor.

Your advice would be highly appreciated.

Firstly, I respect you for being perfectly honest about the situation. Lots of people would try and find someone to blame for this and not take personal responsibility. We often hear from consumers who obviously made a mistake when they bought something and then make up excuses to avoid taking the blame.

As I’m sure you understand the problem is that the item is now technically no longer new. Section 13 (1) (c) of the Consumer Protection Regulations states that a supplier has failed “to meet minimum standards” if they represent that a “commodity is new when in fact it has deteriorated, or it has been altered, reconditioned, used or is second hand”.

An item like your fridge that had been sold and then returned would normally be seen as second hand but in your case it might be slightly different. If the fridge is still in perfect condition, isn’t scratched or damaged in any way and is genuinely still perfectly packaged the store might be OK in selling it as new. I don’t think any subsequent customer would worry too much.

It’s worth asking the store if they can do this. It might be helpful if you offered to pay them for their transport costs as an incentive. See what they say and let us know.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

A couple of years I purchased some books from a company called in South Africa. I didn’t pay for the books I received from them. In fact it was my fault that I did not pay them. I don’t have any of their contacts to settle my accounts. And because of that, I think that I have been blacklisted.

Please advise.

Firstly you should obviously make every effort to locate the bookseller in SA and see if you can settle the debt you have with them. Meanwhile it would be interesting to know why you think you’ve been blacklisted?

Whatever the reason it’s worth checking your credit history with TransUnion. You can do this at certain Post Offices.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #3

I bought a 42 inch LCD TV from HiFi Corporation last year worth P12,000. The TV was stolen from my house two weeks back. I claimed on the insurance and Hi-Fi agreed to replace my TV but the TV they wanted to give is not the one I had actually hoped for. They wanted to give me a 40 inch LED TV worth P 7,700.

I asked if I can make a top up to the amount of the TV they want to give and get a different TV. They said it is not possible according to their store policy. Do you think this is fair?

It’s certainly not very flexible. Nevertheless we got in touch with HiFi Corporation and asked if something can be done. We heard this week that they’d reconsidered and the customer paid the extra amount and has a lovely new TV to use over Christmas.

Good for HiFi Corporation for showing a little flexibility to a valued customer!

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