Saturday, 1 May 2021

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Should I get what I paid for?

In March 2017 I paid one graphic designer/communications designer for some services worth P60,000 and I paid him P50,000 upfront. It has now been more than a year, the ONLY thing he has submitted is a logo, business cards and one editable letterhead. I have not paid him the remaining P10k because we were retrenched last year November and I am unemployed. I need your advice here Sir. I feel like I should terminate the rest of his services and ask for my money back or find a way to pay the remaining balance. In this case also, what is the best approach because for that long I have been asking for the remaining work but he gets arrogant and I ended up paying extra fees for something that he has promised to do? I think I have spend more than P10k asking for the same services that were covered on the invoice.

I think this all depends on what you agreed that he would supply and what he's failed to deliver so far. What's clear is that he has failed to deliver part of what you agreed and I think you need to make it clear that you know your rights and are prepared to demand he respects them.

The good news is that the law is on your side. Section 14 (1) of the Consumer Protection Act says that when
"a supplier undertakes to perform any services for or on behalf of a consumer, the consumer has a right to … timely performance and completion of those services (and) timely notice of any unavoidable delay".
Clearly he's failed to do that. Section 14 (2) also says that when a supplier fails to satisfy this requirement, they must
"refund the consumer a reasonable portion of the price paid for the services performed and goods supplied, having regard to the extent of the failure".
In other words if they only deliver half of the work, you're entitled to half of the money back.

However, there are some problems you might face. Firstly, you might have left this too long to take legal action against him. I'm not an attorney but I know that certain legal claims become 'prescribed' after certain periods. He might argue that you've left this too long and a court might agree with him. Also, he might also argue that the current Consumer Protection Act, which was passed in 2018 might not apply because you bought his services before the Act was passed. But let's not tell him that. Let's both tell him that you either want what you paid for, or a partial refund.

Which should I choose?

We have vehicle insurance and our car was mildly damaged at home when reversing, damaging the mirror, partially the front fender and door. The assessor told us we are at liberty to get quotes from our garage or that of the insurance company. The assessor says the damages amount to P7,000, which the Insurance can only pay P4,000 and we'd have to pay the excess. Our garage say they can fix the car for P3,500 but the insurance insists that we take the car to their garage citing issues like we're still going to pay the P3,500 excess even if we'd an option to go elsewhere. And that the Assessor is the one who determines which way to go. What should we do?

I disagree with what you've been told. It's up to YOU to decide what to do. The insurance company have their preferred garage which will charge P7,000 of which you must pay P3,000 or you can choose your own garage who are significantly cheaper but which will cost you P3,500 if you decide to pay for everything yourself and ignore the insurance policy.

We have to ask, why are the repair cost so different? What will the first garage do that the second one won't? Are they more experienced and might do a much better job? Or is it that the first garage does what many do and charge insurance companies a lot more than is necessary?

I think it's worth asking the insurance company to explain why their costs are so much higher and then asking the garage you found to explain why they are so cheap. Both you and the insurance company need to know why there's such a great difference.

Once all this is understood you can decide whether to allow the insurance company to take charge or whether you ignore them and do your own thing.

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