Saturday 20 December 2014

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

My Russell Hobbs iron is faulty

I need help. I just bought a Russell Hobbs iron at a newly opened store in Ghanzi. I asked about the guarantee and was told that it is 7 DAYS? I was shocked because I know for sure that those irons have a 12 months guarantee if you buy it anywhere else. I bought it anyway and when I got home I read the Warranty in the instructions manual and it clearly says 1 YEAR warranty. So my question is, does the store have a right to change the guarantee of a product and if not what should I do to make sure that I am given a 1 year guarantee for my iron. NB: Their receipt does not have anything on guarantee.

As you say Russell Hobbs is a very respectable manufacturer of electrical items, including irons and they certainly DO offer a 1-year warranty on their products. So why would a store ignore this and say it’s only valid for 7 days?

Is it possible they’re selling “grey imports”? Grey imports are legal but they are products have breached the manufacturer’s warranty in some way by being imported into Botswana. For instance some products are manufactured for specific parts of the world and don’t always work as well in other places. Cars are a very good example. The rules related to seat belts, headlights and emissions vary from region to region and you might find that a vehicle built for the Far East simply won’t work properly in southern Africa. The same goes for some refrigerators and cellphones.

What happens with grey imports is that the Botswana store selling them realizes that they can’t return faulty items to the manufacturer so they only often a token warranty of a few days when they sell them to us.

We’ll get in touch with the store and see how they explain themselves.

Breaking news! Russell Hobbs very recently issued a product recall for certain irons that have been bursting into flames. I’ve sent you the model numbers so you can check that yours isn’t one of these recalled ones.

Bring back the water

Is it ok for Water Utilities Corporation to disconnect water during weekends when their offices are closed?

Personally I think that no, it’s certainly not ok for Water Utilities to cut you off over the weekend.

Let’s start with the obvious. You have to pay your water bill, you really must. If you don’t your bills for water, power, your cellphone contract, internet connection or insurance, the company is within its rights to cut you off.

However, I think it’s cruel to cut people off over the weekend, even if they haven’t paid the bill. Who knows who else lives in your house who really needs water? Maybe your aged sick grannie lives with you. Maybe you are looking after a sick relative? Maybe you have a newborn baby? Either way I think it’s unreasonable not to give you a chance to pay the bill and get reconnected immediately, something you can’t do if they cut you off on a non-working day.

We contacted WUC and their first reaction was very simple. They told us: “A customer is eligible for disconnection for ANY bill that is over 30 days old. Disconnections can be done any day of the week.”

Then we asked them to be a bit more reasonable and they told us that they “will raise it with management.” Who knows, maybe they’ll do the decent thing?

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