Sunday 17 April 2016

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can I get it cheaper?

Last week i saw a Police watch in a store and the price was P999. I told the lady who works there that I would like the watch and she came with the key to open the display. As I was proceeding to pay, she then said there's a mistake, the watch is P1999. And she showed me where the 1 must have been. She then proceeded to look for the 1 in the display unit to prove to me that it had fallen off but she couldn't find it. I then told her that I'm going to pay the price that I see but she said that would be impossible. I then asked to take a picture as proof that the watch was indeed labelled P999 but she said they don't allow that but she will call the manager.

When the manager started helping me he was very rude and plainly told me that I would be cheating the store if I get a watch that is worth P1999 for P999. And he even went on to say it is not his or the store's responsibility that the 1 fell off, these things happen.

The following day I sent an email to the headquarters in South Africa and related the incident. They failed to answer me on what their policy is regarding incorrect pricing. They apologized however for the incident and told me someone in Botswana will get back to me. Yesterday, a lady called and said she had investigated my complaint and is willing to offer me a 10% discount on the watch. I told her that that's not good enough because as far as consumer right's go, you pay for the price on the item even if it is not the price reflected at the till.

I need advice if I should pursue the matter or just let it go.

I’m sorry to hear of your disappointment. However I don’t think you have an argument here. The store will argue that this was a simple mistake and not a deliberate attempt to deceive customers. They will point out that the lady explained to you that a mistake had been made as soon as she saw it.

You could argue that they breached Section 13 (1) (e) of the Consumer Protection Regulations by not offering to sell the item "as advertised or represented” but that same section requires you to show their “intent not to dispose of the commodity” as represented. They will argue, probably rightly, that there was no intent to deceive anyone, just a mistake.

Finally, they’ll be able to show their regret and good will by relating their offer of a 10% discount.

I understand your frustration but I’ll be surprised if you can argue this one successfully. Time to let it go!

Can I get my drive back?

In 2014, first week of January I took my 1.5 TB hard drive to a repair place as it was not working and they promised that they will fix which was not done.

On the 17 January 2014 I paid P285 after they promised that it was working but as at the time we didn't have a computer to check if it was working. I paid them the said amount. When I got home I checked it but it was not working and I took it back to them to work on the same problem which they failed to fix.

The manager told me that he will give it to a certain man who said he will be able to fix but he also was not able to do that. The man whom was given this has an office at Mogoditshane and he received the hard drive in my presence. I kept on calling this man to check if he managed to fix it but he was rude as he kept on dropping my calls every time I phone him.

I have been calling the manager demanding refund and the hard drive who was always promising to return the hard drive and money till today. I have on several times went to his workshop from Lobatse but to come back with promises which never materialized.

I think you’ve been patient enough, maybe even too patient. Waiting for more than two years to get your hard drive repaired is completely unacceptable. I suggest that you write the guy (the first guy, the one you paid) a letter stating that he has failed to honor his agreement with you, that he’s failed to satisfy Section 13 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations because his services are “not of merchantable quality” and demanding that he refunds you the drive and the money you paid him within 14 days. Tell him that if he fails to do so you’ll take legal action against him without any further delay.

If he still fails to refund you after 14 days go directly to the Small Claims Court with all the paperwork you have and ask for an order against him for the money. Don’t hesitate!

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