Friday, 27 May 2016

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Must I show my ID?

I don't know if this will be answered by yourselves, but I would like know if I am forced to produce my ID card whenever I swipe my bank card in the shops. Unlike the old ATM cards I am referring to a chip card where I will also need to enter my pin number. The employees in one of the shops were saying it's a must that I produce my ID otherwise their bosses are looking in the cameras and they will lose their jobs if they can see that they swiped my card even though I refused to show my ID.

My understanding is that your PIN should be enough but I can understand that a store might want to double check that you’re really the person who owns the card but that should be your decision as much as theirs. I’m not aware that the banks demand this, they seem to be happy with just the PIN or a signature. I’m not sure they suggest any other details should be recorded.

I also find it frustrating when I use my Chip and PIN cards only to be asked for my signature as well, even when the till slip says “No signature required”.

I suggest that if this happens again, and you don’t want to get the staff into trouble, you ask to see the manager and ask him or her to explain why the PIN you’ve entered isn’t enough.

Consumers need to be a bit more assertive when stores make up rules without explaining why they are necessary. Personally I always politely refuse to give stores my cellphone number or ID number. Those are my business, not theirs and I have the right to disclose only the details I am comfortable disclosing.

Feel free to disclose these details if you want but you have a right to stand up for your rights and your privacy!

Can I return the bed?

I have purchased a bed and mattress yesterday on the basis that if I was not satisfied I will be able to get a refund. I have so because with a bed you only know its true comfort after you have had a good night’s sleep on it. This bed comes with a 5 year guarantee and 25 year warranty.

Please advise me my right as the shop does not seem too keen to refund me.

The Consumer Protection Regulations are very clear. Section 13 (1) (a) says that goods must be “of merchantable quality” meaning that they must be “fit for the purposes for which commodities of that kind are usually purchased”. A cellphone must be able to make calls, send and receive messages and these days, access the internet. A fridge must be capable of keeping its contents sufficiently cold. A memory stick must be capable of storing an appropriate amount of data.

But what must a bed do?

It’s actually very hard to define. Yes, you should be able to sleep on it but you can also sleep on the floor. So what exactly should a bed offer you? Clearly it should offer you some level of comfort but how much? What’s comfortable to you might be uncomfortable to me. I happen to like a firm bed but you might like a softer one.

You’re right that you can only really tell whether a bed is right for you once you’ve actually spent a night on it. But that’s the problem. Once you’ve slept on it, it’s second-hand. It’s no longer new. If you were to persuade the store to take it back they couldn’t sell it as new to anyone else, to someone who might like it more than you did. Section 13 (1) (c) of the Regulations forbid that. The store would need to declare that the bed was now second-hand and nobody would pay the full price for that, would they?

While I understand your problem, I’m not sure there’s much you can do. Unless the store signed a written agreement that you could return the bed if it wasn’t to your taste, I don’t think you can force them to do so. Look at it from their point of view. Have they actually done anything wrong? The bed does what a bed does and as far as I understand it’s not faulty.

The only thing I can suggest is that you approach the manager and see if they can’t accept your word that the shop assistant said you could return the bed if you didn’t like it. It’s worth a try.

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