Saturday 22 May 2021

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Where's my wig?

There is this company that sells hair products and other stuff and I purchased a wig from them and they haven't delivered it. It was supposed to come from the courier company which also they didn't share with me when I asked. Can you help me trace them? I was given a number to pay by ewallet but the lady denied it, saying she is a client but her names match the ones on the banking details I was given.

I tried to reverse the ewallet but she already took the money out but they still haven't delivered my hair and they have disappeared just like that. Someone helped me find out about the lady and we found that they actually work at a bank.

This is complicated. I contacted the woman you mention and it seems like she's telling the truth. She's not involved in the company selling the wig, she's another customer. She tried to buy a phone from them recently and something went wrong and they offered her a refund. However, because this company doesn't seem to have any money, they diverted your money for the wig to refund her part of the money they owed her. You paid another customer, not the company. They robbed Peter to pay Paul.

I think we now need to escalate things with the company themselves. The name they're using isn't a registered company name in Botswana and their lack of available cash suggests they're either incompetent, very unlucky or dishonest. Regardless of which it might be we need to get you your money back.

The lesson from this is to always be very careful before you pay someone for something. If you can, insist on paying money directly from your bank account to theirs. That way you can check that the person receiving the money is really who they say they are. Of course, lots of people running small businesses these days use money transfer services like eWallet. They're harder to check because they often just use a cellphone number but you should always call the number you're given first to check who it really belongs to.

Can I get my money back?

Good day Mr Richard. Just a really quick question. We bought a sink from a certain hardware store in Palapye. We decided the sink was not to our liking so we wanted to return it. The shop owner told us that he does not accept returns and if we do want to return then he will take 10% of the money. My question is, in the absence of either a written or verbal notification of this practice, was what he did legal? I need your advice as I would like to take the matter further.

I'm sorry but I don't have any good news for you.

The Consumer Protection Act is very clear when it says that a consumer "has the right to receive goods which are of good quality, in good working order and free of defects". It also says that when something is faulty they must either repair it, replace it or refund you the price you paid.

However, this is the bad news for you. This is only the case when the product you bought was faulty or if the seller mis-sold it to you. If the thing you bought works as expected then you have no right to return it. You have no right to change your mind.

Of course there are certain stores that allow you to return things but that's just excellent customer service and a way of boosting the loyalty and confidence of their customers. Unfortunately, not all stores are as committed to customer service as others.

However, there are stores like this one that allow you to return things if you pay them a fee. Paying them 10% might be the best solution in this situation. A 90% refund is better than nothing.

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