Saturday 17 July 2021

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Where's my bed?

Hi Richard. I really need your help, please our value for our money is no longer considered in furniture stores. I lay-byed a bed worth P4,000 last year August. I went to collect it but after making the payment I spent a week before getting my bed being told that its at the warehouse. I ended up getting it a week later.

After 3 months the bed started making noise. I didn't even waste time I went back to the shop to lodge a complaint and I was told it might be factory fault. They then promised to change the bed but it has been 6 months. Now every month I pay them a visit they keep telling me the same thing.

This bed is no longer comfortable for me, I don't rest well because of the noise. They are taking me for granted because they no longer take my calls at the shop where I bought the bed. Its been 8 months now since I reported this matter maybe a letter from consumer affairs will show them how serious this thing is.

Please help. 

One of the best things about the new Consumer Protection Act is how easy it is to understand. So easy that even some store managers can understand it.

Section 15 (1) of the Act says that a consumer "has the right to receive goods which are of good quality, in good working order and free of defects, unless the opposite is clearly disclosed". Is that difficult?

If a bed is going to be noisy then the store need to tell you that in advance. There needs to be a sign in the store saying 'This bed will make unpleasant noises after three months". Otherwise you're entitled to assume that the bed will be silent, comfortable and likely to give you a good night's sleep. That is what the law offers you. That is what you are entitled to expect.

The store clearly failed to do this and I think we need to explain this to the store. Then we'll see if they're prepared to honour their obligations.

Update: Eventually, after repeated emails the store contacted the consumer and invited them to visit the store and select a bed to replace the noisy one. That's a lesson for us all. Don't give up and eventually the right thing might happen. Eventually.

Can I get a refund?

I laybyed a phone worth P1,300 and along the way I couldn't finish the laybye because my boyfriend bought me a phone. When I went to the shop to inform them that I can't go on with the laybye because of that and I'm looking forward for a refund. They told me that they can't refund me they'll rather make me take clothes from their shop with the money that I laybyed with. Is it fair Richard? Is it how things work?

There's a problem here. With lay-byes. Any attorneys reading this can tell if I'm wrong but I don't think there are any rules or regulations regarding lay-byes. I suspect it's unregulated.

So it might all depend on what was in writing. But there's another problem. Did you actually have a written agreement with the store? My experience is that lay-byes often don't have written agreements, just some receipts for the payments people have made. There's often nothing in writing that say what happens if you change your mind or can't afford to continue with the payments. There's nothing to protect the consumer if things go wrong.

I suggest it might be best to see if there's anything in the store that you might want for the amount you've paid so far. It might be the simplest solution to the situation.

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