Saturday, 5 May 2018

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Must I pay to fix the leak?

Please help me. Last year I engaged a company to do waterproofing on my roof deck. Lo and behold after the first rains in 2017 the deck leaked badly. We called the guy who returned and claimed to have fixed the problem. This year it rained cats and dogs and the deck leaked worse than before. The guy came again and promised to return to fix it. It's now 2 months, he says I should pay P3,800 for him to hire a concrete drill for him to make a new passage for the water because according to him it was the builders mistake. Needless to say he never mentioned any mistake in the builders part previously.

Please help us as I'm worried if the rain stops we will still suffer next time it rains. I find it unfair to pay for a machine when I paid in full for what was to be a complete job.

Thanks in advance.

Regular readers will know by now what Section 13 (1) (a) of the current Consumer Protection Regulations says. It demands that all commodities and services must be "of merchantable quality" which it defines 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". Waterproofing a roof should do exactly that. It should be waterproof. Obviously, you can't expect miracles but I'm sure this guy knows the sort of weather we have in Botswana and he should have been able to offer you a product that could withstand it.

This business about demanding money from you to buy new equipment is just silly. It's not your responsibility to buy his company the equipment they should already have.

The important lesson from your experience is whenever you get work like this done to your home, insist on getting a written warranty or guarantee. I don't think it's unreasonable to demand that a specialist builder like this can give their customers some level of assurance of how long their work will protect you. The decent ones do this already, why don't the others?

Meanwhile I'll contact the company and see if they can't be more helpful!

Update. The builder told me that "we are fixing the leak this week and will confirm when all remedial works are done". Let's see if that actually happens!

Where is Ritefurn?

I need some advice. I bought some furniture at Ritefurn at Game City. Now the shop is closed and apparently they owe rent. Now its been four months and have not gotten my items. I'm being sent from pillar to pillar. What can I do?

We've been approached by many people asking the same question. Like you, some have told me they've paid Ritefurn money for goods they hadn't received, other have goods and don't know how to continue paying for them. Everyone seems confused. I've also spoken to the people who were working at Ritefurn and they are worried that people will stop paying them and the business will collapse as a result. However, my main interest is in consumers.

What are the facts? Ritefurn branches are closed. The remaining managers told me that they don't have access to the business bank account. Some customers told me that they were asked to pay the money they owed into employee's personal bank accounts. The last thing I heard was that the owner is no longer in Botswana and I got a message from the number he last used saying that "the operations of Ritefurn is hold at the moment".

Given that even the owner says the company is no longer operating, I urge you not to pay anyone anything right now because there is no guarantee that the money is going to the right place. For those people who have already paid for things they haven't received I suspect you're in for a long wait.

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