Sunday 25 October 2020

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can she get a refund or a replacement?

My wife bought a phone from a store at the Station Mall with high purchase and she collected the phone on the 30th July. On the 6th September the phone went off and refused to power on. On 7th she took it back to them and they took it for fixing somewhere in Commerce Park so she spent the whole month without a phone. They gave it back to her on the 6th October. On 16th October in the morning the phone did the same thing so she returned it back to them again asking for a refund or a new phone but they refused to both of those and said they are takin it back again for fixing of which they are saying it should be a minimum of 21 days. In the mean time there is nothing they can help her with but she is paying her monthly instalments.

So my question is what can she do in dis situation and how can you advice or help her?

Unacceptable. Totally unacceptable. This store needs a quick lesson in Consumer Protection Act 2018. 

Section 15 (1) of the Consumer Protection Act says that goods must be "of good quality, in good working order and free of defects". Clearly this phone wasn't in good working order when it failed the first time. Section 16 (3) of the Act says that when a product is faulty the supplier is required to offer their customer one of the 'three Rs', a refund, replacement or a repair but it's up to the store to decide which of those they offer her. They were within their rights to try and repair it. However, I wonder how competent the repair people are if it takes a month to fix a basic phone problem but maybe they'll say that Covid-19 delayed thing. It's possible, let's be charitable.

However, the Consumer Protection Act goes further. Section 16 (4) says that when "a supplier repairs goods returned by a consumer … and within three months the same problem recurs", they can now offer only TWO Rs, a refund or a replacement. They only get one chance to repair the item. If they fail to repair it the first time, the customer gets their money back or a replacement.

I suggest your wife goes back to the store and explains this to them. She can be their Consumer Rights Teacher for the day. If they fail to listen to her lesson we can ask the Competition and Consumer Authority to get in touch with them and flex their muscles. Meanwhile I've already contacted the store's Regional Manager so maybe we won't need to get too aggressive?

What can be done about my car?

I need assistance as I had purchased a vehicle from a local import car dealer and its has been giving me problems since the first week and the dealer is nowhere to be found.

We agreed 3 months warranty but the car gave me problems before the lapse. He took the car in for repairs but he then disappeared for a month saying he is still fixing it. The car drove for more than 600km when it was with him. I then told him I want my money back and he then told me the car is okay and he then sent someone else to give me the car unfixed and it was even worse than it was before and some parts and accessories of the car are missing. Since then he has been ignoring my calls and Whatsapp messages.

I don't often suggest this but I think you need to contact the Police. They might tell you that it's a civil matter but I think you should stand your ground and make it clear that he appears to have taken parts from the vehicle and has "obtained by false pretence" when he sold you the car. I understand that the charge might not stick but a phone call from a persuasive police officer might apply a little pressure.

Do you think a call from Consumer Watchdog telling him that we'll continue to cover the story in The Voice until he fixes it might help as well?

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