Saturday 24 October 2015

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Is it my job to submit a claim?

Sometime back I learned with concern that if five people buy a funeral cover for the same individual at Botswana Life, only three of them will claim when the time of need comes, with the rest loosing out even though they have been subscribing for the cover all the years. If this is true then my question is, is this fair business practice by Botswana Life? Why do they have to receive the monies if they know u wont claim. Isn't this stealing from us?

I’m not quite sure I understand your question. If you’re asking whether there is a rule that says only three customers can claim against their funeral policy when someone dies then no, that’s not the case. Someone else asked us about this a few months ago and we contacted Botswana Life and they were very clear. Their representative told us:
“We pay benefits based on whether or not all premiums are up to date and not based on how many people had covered the deceased.”
It simply doesn’t matter how many people cover an individual in their funeral policies. When that person passes away, everyone who covered them can claim, so long as their premiums are up-to-date.

On the other hand, if you’re asking whether Botswana Life are responsible if some of those people who covered the deceased just fail to submit a claim, then no, it’s not Botswana Life’s fault. It’s up to the policy-holder to submit a claim, it’s not the insurer’s job to chase the customer and ask if they want to claim.

If a loved-one passes away it is the responsibility of everyone who covered that person to promptly submit a claim. And they must do it quickly as well, there’s only a limited period in which claims can be submitted. Read your insurance policies again as soon as you can or call your insurer and ask them what the conditions might be.

We have a big problem with insurance in Botswana. Many, many people simply don’t understand what insurance is and how it works. Come on the insurance industry. Get out there and start educating us on why insurance is so important!

Where’s my cellphone?
I need help with this issue. I bought a cellphone from a furniture store with one year guarantee. After a few months the phone failed to function and I took it back to the store. This was back in August this year. Its now October and I still have not received my phone. I never get any update from them unless I personally call them although they had promised to offer me continuous updates. Every time I inquire on the progress of the phone repair I get the same answer: that they are still awaiting instructions from their South African office on whether to fix the phone or give me a new one. I wrote a letter to them last week demanding what is due to me and I still have not been dignified with the courtesy of a response.

So far I think you’ve done everything right. You waited patiently and have now demanded that the store offers you a solution. So far, so good.

The basic facts are simple. When you bought the phone you had a right (as described in Section 13 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations) to expect it to be “of merchantable quality” which the Regulations define as “fit for the purposes for which commodities of that kind are usually purchased, as it is reasonable to expect in light of the relevant circumstances”. So long as you don’t mistreat it, you can expect a cellphone to work properly for the duration of the warranty. Clearly this cellphone failed that test.

Section 15 (1) (a) of the Regulations says that you’re also entitled to services that are delivered “with reasonable care and skill”. When they try to sort out a problem they should do so carefully and skillfully. Clearly the store fails that test.

I think it’s time to escalate the situation a bit. We’ll get in touch with the store management and see if they can’t get things moving a bit more quickly. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, do you?

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