Friday 29 March 2013

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1
I bought a brand new car from a certain garage about three years ago. After six months it had a factory fault which they said was electrical and I had a new computer-box fixed at their expense.

Now this car dealership can not program the spare key to the car, they keep saying South Africa will send them a pin to program but they are never successful and lately when I contacted the Managing Director for answers and way forward, he issued me with a letter stating the history of the car and what he intends to do as a Manager. According to him, this letter binds him that within a short time ‘longer’ the spare keys will be ready. When I asked him to state the deadline he became unfriendly, giving me attitude that I can go anywhere I can with this issue that’s all he can do. This worries me as to how many of his customers out there are faced with this situation or are still going to come across this and he gets away with it.

I need advice on this one as the car has 5 years warranty and left with only two years to finish paying for the auto-loan and it gets out of warranty.

It sounds like you’ve been patient enough. It’s time to escalate the problem to another level. I suggest you write to the Head Office in South Africa stating that you’ve been let down by their local dealership. Give them the relevant dates and explain that they have breached Section 15 (1) (a) of Botswana’s Consumer Protection Regulations by not delivering a service “with reasonable care and skill”. Remind them that this problem was caused by THEIR factory fault and it’s their job to resolve it.

Let them know that you’ve contacted us and I’ll get in touch with them as well to encourage them to get moving.

Good luck!

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

Just last week I received an SMS alert from my bank indicating that I made a purchase at a store on that day. Unlike the usual SMS alerts, the exact time of purchase was not indicated. I saw this SMS when I woke up in the morning, so my guess is maybe it came in while I was asleep. When I went to the bank they printed out a bank statement for me showing the money was taken from my account on 4th March for a purchase on 26th February. I told the bank that I did not buy anything at that store on the said date but they insisted that’s what their records show. I went to the store and they could not find that payment in any of their records.

Eventually I was told it was a purchase I made during December last year. I am just wondering how it happened that it could take 3 months for a transaction to go through. Isn’t it when the paypoint says transaction approved and the cashier makes you sign the dotted line it means money has gone out of your account? When I went back to the store to ask the lady told me it was a transaction on 22nd December but she couldn’t find any speed point slips for the 22nd December so they said they will look into the speed points slips for the rest of December and get back to me and I am still waiting.

I am wondering why the store didn’t notify me if the money didn’t go through rather than for me to find an SMS after almost three months.

It certainly sounds like there’s been a communications problem somewhere. You should go back to your bank and demand that they investigate the transaction more closely. The bank should have a procedure for investigating these things. Ideally they should have told you about this before now but it seems like it’s your job to remind them about it.

If you send me the details I’ll also get in touch with the bank and see what they can do to assist.

I suppose that the lesson is to check your bank statements every time you get them but I can understand how anyone could easily overlook something like this. However it’s also a good example of how useful SMS alerts can be. Why don’t all banks offer them?


Collen in the bakery section at Shoprite Game City has been celebrated for “wonderful service”. Also Johnson at Sanitas offered “genuinely friendly, knowledgeable and helpful service.” Finally, we were told about Mompati from the Frame Gallery who offers “really friendly and cheerful service”.

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