Friday, 22 September 2017

The Voice - Consumer'a Voice

They’re confused!

I received a text message saying I owe some money at a private hospital lab, P1194 and that I was to settle the bill in 7 days. I then called the number that was at the end of the message to enquire and was told I owe P987.94 instead as my account had some credit which was used. On asking why then they sent P1194 I was told the person who sent messages was not looking at the system. Apparently my medical aid had not paid their portion. I later on called the medical aid which confirmed to me that they have paid the bill. The amount and service date of the bill was the same, except for the reference number I got from the hospital. The medical aid said the lab should call them if they need clarifications and they should correct their accounts. I finally called the lab and they said they would call medical aid and after a short while the lady from the lab called me and said now I don't owe anything. She said the reference number used by med aid is different but they are the same. I am so confused. Apparently each account has 2 reference numbers according to her. How can reference numbers be the different and be the "same"? And how can the amounts that I was supposed to pay in 7 days be different? I’m hoping u would maybe help me understand this.

Unfortunately, I don’t understand this at all. Like you, I’m as confused as the hospital lab and your medical aid. The difference is that you and me being confused is acceptable, your two service providers being confused is not. We pay companies like the medical aid and the hospital to be experts in their field and keeping accurate, timely and complete financial records is meant to be within their expertise.

My fear is that this is the sort of problem that will keep on occurring if they don’t get their records correct. I suggest that you write a letter to the CEOs of both the medical aid and hospital politely asking for a statement showing that you don’t owe either of them any money. Next time their systems have a meltdown you can wave those letters at them.

The lesson from this is whenever possible to get some form of evidence when you settle a debt or a debt is cancelled or corrected. Always insist that the letter confirms that no information regarding the false debt was ever passed to a credit reference bureau. Good luck!

I’ve waited 9 months!

I bought double bunk beds and sofas from a furniture store and reported some faults in December 2016 and up to today they haven't attended to them. Literally I go and raise the issue monthly. Please advice me on drafting a formal complaint letter. 

Assuming that the items you bought were still within the warranty period I think you should write a letter to the Managing Director or Country Manager of the furniture store chain, certainly not anyone less important. Ignore any complaints procedure they might have, remember that it’s 2017, we live in the era of Facebook. Customers are in charge now, not them. The letter should say something like this:

“Dear MD

On [purchase date] I bought a double bunk bed and sofas from your store at [location]. In December 2016 I informed the store of the following faults with the items [describe the faults]. These faults were clearly a breach of Section 13 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations 2001 which require a supplier to offer commodities that are “of merchantable quality” and that are “fit for the purposes for which commodities of that kind are usually purchased”. Since my original complaint and despite numerous reminders, your store has failed to honour this obligation, which I consider to be a breach of Section 15 (1) (a) of the Regulations which requires a supplier to offer services “with reasonable care and skill”. A failure to respond to a complaint for nine months is clearly not reasonable.

Please will you ensure that my complaint is resolved within the next 14 days. If not, I will be forced to escalate the matter to the authorities and to instigate legal action if it is not remedied.

Lots of love and kisses.”

You might want to leave out the last line.

No comments: