Saturday, 29 September 2018

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can they charge me for the refund?

Good day. I bought goods at a certain shop in Molapo Crossing. I swiped my card to pay but now I returned goods the shop owner demand that I pay certain percentage since I was swiping. He says it's bank charges for swiping. Where do I report such?

I think this depends on why you returned the goods.

If there was a problem with the goods, if they were faulty or if the store misled you about them, then you’re entitled to return them and get some solution from the store. Right now you don’t have a right to demand a refund in this situation but you are entitled to one of the three Rs, a refund, repair or replacement but it s usually up to the store to decide which of these they offer you. Most importantly, regardless of what they offer, you shouldn’t be required to pay anything for this to happen. It’s the responsibility of the store and perhaps the manufacturer to pay the price.

However, the situation is different if there was nothing wrong with the goods and you’d just changed your mind about the goods. In that situation, the store isn’t actually obliged to do anything to assist you. They might because they’re nice people, they like your face or they just want to offer excellent service, but you can’t oblige them to. After all, in this situation, they’ve done nothing wrong, have they?

When a store swipes your card they pay the bank for the pleasure of doing so. It’s only a few percentage points of the price you’re paying but it’s nevertheless a price they pay and it’s one of the many ways that banks make money. It’s actually benefits the store because they don’t need to take, store and transport as much cash with all the risks that poses. I don’t know this for sure but I suspect that if you bring the goods back and they swipe again to refund you the money, they have to pay that percentage again? Whether they’re charged once or twice doesn’t matter, the store had to pay the bank for you to purchase the goods. Why should they have to incur that cost just because you changed your mind?

They blacklisted me!

Kindly help me. I bought a TV at on hire purchase and the method of payment was a stop order. A few months I closed the credit by paying with cash. A few months later I get a call from creditors that I owe the store. I went to enquire about my account settlement and it seems that they didn't close it. Now my name is registered with ITC. I have been trying to talk to them so that I am assisted. They are not assisting me as I would have liked. It's been 4 months now. Kindly help me. My life has been really affected. I am missing job opportunities at banks and I can't get financial aid because of my bad credit record that was caused by the negligence of the store staff.

Firstly, congratulations on doing the right thing, settling a debt as soon as you possibly can. It’s something everyone should do whenever they can afford to do so, particularly with hire purchase agreements but also with home and vehicle loans and credit cards. As soon as you have some spare money, after setting aside your emergency fund (of at least three months outgoings), pay off as much debt as you can. Do this before you even think of savings schemes. The interest you pay on debt far exceeds that interest you earn on savings. That’s another way that banks and other lenders make money.

Having done the right thing, I can only imagine your frustration at being punished for doing so. That’s not how things are meant to work.

I think you should be speaking to the store manager and demanding a solution before you start causing them severe trouble. I think you need to remind them that Section 15 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations requires stores like this one to offer services “with reasonable care and skill”. Clearly they have failed to do this in your case. I think your choice of the word “negligence” is correct but too polite. I would use words like “incompetent”, “unprofessional” and some others that The Voice won’t allow me to use.

We’ll also get in touch with the store’s Regional Manager and see if he can shake some sense into his staff!

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