Saturday 24 July 2021

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can I claim?

My mother who was a furniture store account holder passed away in June and I was temporarily given the responsibility to administer her estate. I lodged her death with one of the shops in Gaborone a few days after her funeral and I was told that the account had arrears. I was made to fill the club funeral benefit claim form which was then sent to them. All the necessary documents were attached to this form for their perusal.

I decided to call them to hear their response a few days later and they asked me to resend the documents as they say they never received, I emailed the documents.

After that I was notified that I have to pay for the account arrears for me to claim the funeral cover fee. Upon that I requested the account statement which showed that indeed the account was in arrears, also on the statement there seems to be charges and payments that I wish to be clarified about by the shop and they have not been able to do so. In fact they gave me 2 options of either paying the money or they repossess the furniture. I told them I can't afford to pay them and suggested that they should rather subtract the money from the funeral cover and give me the remaining fees, that they refused.

So my question to your office is, is it right for them to demand me to pay?

Yet again here's another story that shows how unpleasant hire purchase can be. Even after the customer's death it sticks around to punish the surviving family. Unfortunately, the store is probably correct. If your late mother was in arrears with her repayments then the benefits offered by the hire purchase agreement were on hold. That includes any funeral benefit that the policy included.

The decision you face is a difficult one. The best thing to do would be to find a way to raise the money to pay off the arrears so you can get the funeral benefits. However, please don't get into debt to do this.

The alternative is just to allow them to repossess the goods but understand that this might not close the deal. Your mother owed them money and they're entitled to recover that. They can't claim it from you but they can claim it from your mother's estate, whatever money or property she behind her.

Let's hope you can find a way to raise the money needed to pay the arrears.

Where's my refund?

Kindly assist. I made an order with an import company. In January they told me that it will take 3 to 6 weeks for my order to arrive which didn't happen. In the beginning of June I wrote to them asking for refund and they told me it will take two weeks. They told me they had a problem with the bank because the refund is coming from China hence the delay. Then they promised that I will get my refund before 9 July.

Since then I have been calling them and its a story after another. I don't know what to do anymore.

We all understand that the last 18 months have been very difficult for us all and for companies shipping things around the world in particular. Moving goods from place to place is a lot harder than it used to be.

But this is different. They told you six months ago that the goods would take 3 - 6 weeks to arrive and I'm sure you would have been tolerant if the delay was a week or two but several months is unacceptable.

I contacted the company and they responded very quickly. Do you think it was because I mentioned I'd be covering this in The Voice? They said they acknowledge that you are their client and they "have been having a few challenges on customs clearance with our shipments from China and have been unable to deliver to our clients. We are now in the process of refunding all concerned clients herein and just waiting for the funds to clear out with the bank. May we ask that this be resolved amicably and refund the client before the 30th of July".

You've waited for six months so far, let's wait for another week and see what happens. If that doesn't work, then we can get a bit more demanding.

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