Sunday, 22 April 2012

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I am writing this letter very much disheartened by the poor craftsmanship of a dressmaker I approached for her services. The dress was a bridesmaids dress that was paid for in full in February 2012 for a wedding that took place this past weekend. On my arrival for my final dress fitting on Friday 6th, I was informed that my dress was mistakenly given to another bridesmaid and was altered to suit her shape, leaving me with no dress for the wedding!

She had to sew another dress for the very same night and I was not pleased with the results. I wore a dress that was literally falling apart, the state of the dress did not match the P650 that she charged me. I even missed the church proceedings as my dress was still being sewn.

She did not have the decency to apologize for all this and refuses to give me a discount. The dress is worthless, I can never wear it again. What are the proper steps I should take in getting a refund for this? I want to take action against her but I don’t know how.

I'm very sorry to hear of this, it must have been very disappointing and frustrating for you, particularly on what's meant to be such a happy day.

I'm not a lawyer but I suspect this can be seen as a simple breach of contract to begin with. You paid money for something that was not satisfactorily delivered. You also have a valid complaint under Section 13 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations 2001 which states that “any supplier who offers a commodity or service to a consumer fails to meet minimum standards and specifications if … the commodity sold …
does not match any sample or description given to the consumer [or] is not of merchantable quality”

Clearly a wedding dress that's falling apart is "not of merchantable quality". What's more, Section 15 (1) (a) says that a supplier fails to meet minimum standards of performance if "the service is not rendered with reasonable care and skill and such service and any materials used are not fit for any particular purpose made known by the consumer."

I suggest that you write to the dressmaker and explain this. Mention both these clauses and the breach of contract and give her 7 days to make a full refund. Suggest that if she fails to do so you'll take her to the Small Claims Court.

Let me know how this goes!

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

I recently vacated a rented house and the landlord is refusing to return my P6,300 deposit on the house. I was wondering what my rights as a tenant are in Botswana? It was a 3-year lease that expired end of February 2012, and we did not renew as we wanted to move.

The lease said that when it expired we had to “return the premises, the fixtures and fittings thereof and appurtenances thereto, to the Lessor in good order and condition, fair wear and tear excepted; and which the whole of the internal parts of the premises properly painted in a worklike manner and with such paint and material as shall first be approved by the Lessor".

My problem here is the following: When we moved into the property it was NOT painted, and the walls were full of holes and screws. In fact, the previous tenants were still moving their last stuff out, as we were moving in. In my opinion we cannot be liable for painting the whole interior, as it was not done when we move in.

The landlord has started painting and renovating the house and states that he is keeping track of the costs, and will present me with a final bill when all is done. I feel I am simply being taken for a ride here, and they will make sure to come up with a bill which equals our deposit, or maybe even more.

What are my rights here, and what can I do to resolve the matter and get the deposit back? I have to reiterate again: the house was in pretty bad state when we moved into it, and we looked after it very well.

Unfortunately you’re bound by whatever the lease agreement said. I understand you find it frustrating but that’s what you’re obliged to do. You can’t link the state of the house when you moved in to its state when you moved out. The problems at the beginning of the lease should have been fixed then. You can’t wait until 3 year later to deal with them. Sorry!

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