Saturday, 19 December 2020

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Where's my money?

I've been scammed of P36,000 by a furniture store in Francistown.

At the beginning of November I had identified a lounge suite at their store. They had the maroon and dark brown colours on display. The staff then informed me that they do sell this sofa set in black too. Towards the end of November I went back to the store to confirm they still had the black one, they insisted I pay ASAP as the sofas are running out.

I then decided to purchase the black leather lounge suite from them on the 27th of November. After having sent the money directly to the company account they informed me that they do not sell a black version of the sofa set even though they had been telling me for weeks before that they did.

I then asked for a refund and they have been sending me back and forth between their head office in SA. It's now 2 weeks later and we still have not received our money. They have also been trying to convince me to accept a different sofa set of which I did not want.

I have now already gotten another sofa at a different store and I would just like my money back.

What actions can I take to ensure I get my funds back?

You can complain. Loudly. Very loudly.

You don't need to be an attorney to understand that you had a contract with the furniture store which both parties agreed to and which THEY then broke. They agreed to supply you with a black lounge suite and took a huge amount of your money in return. Then they broke that agreement.

They also ignored their obligations under the Consumer Protection Act. Section 7 (6) and 7 (7) of the Act says that when "goods or services are not availed as advertised, the consumer shall have the right to cancel the contract" and that "the supplier shall refund the consumer the amount paid". The Act does NOT say that they are permitted to take two weeks to do this. It does NOT say that they can keep your money for as long as they like.

I've contacted the store's Head Office and I'm confident they'll see that their store has badly let you down and get you your refund very soon.

Where's my money too?

Late January somebody hit my car from behind. They had insurance and in early February I was asked by the insurance company to take my car for assessing at a repair shop. I did this and delivered the quotation for just over P13,000 to their office. I was asked to submit all my KYC documents online which I did. I have been following up constantly with them by phone calls and emails since May but still am waiting for the claim to be paid. I have called over 30 times to follow up but always get put on hold or am told they will return my call, which they have only done once but with no information to share with me. It has been 10 months now and I can't seem to get a result no matter how hard I try. Could you please help?

Someone who was trying to be difficult would argue that you are not the customer of the insurance company. The other driver, the one who paid for the insurance policy is their customer and their obligation is to help them, not you. But I disagree. Their customer damaged your vehicle and their job is to protect the other driver's interests by honouring their insurance policy and paying you what you deserve. If they fail to do so, you'll be entitled to take legal action against the other driver and demand payment from them, not the insurance company. Do the insurance company want their client being dragged to court because of their incompetence? Do they really want their customer to report them to NBFIRA for failing to honour their obligations? Do they really?

I've emailed the CEO of the insurance company to see if he can intervene and encourage his colleagues to offer a decent service. If that doesn't work then you and the other driver should combine forces and report them to NBFIRA.

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