Saturday 1 October 2022

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Is my phone new? (An update)?

A few weeks ago a reader of The Voice complained about a phone she bought. She said:
"I bought my iPhone XR from a store, they claimed it's a new phone, but the battery health wasn't 100%, also the model number according to Apple community is a refurbished phone. A month into using the phone it kept crashing. I had to send it back to them and they claimed it needed a software update, which wasn't true because I had already updated it. It also came with a damaged box and no charger.

And they informed me that a cellphone shop in Square mart is their supplier, and the supplier is not willing to assist with the query. They claim that it has been 8 months with the phone. I showed them the complaint I sent them about the phone being refurbished in January, hardly 3 weeks after buying it, So they are the ones who didn't escalate my issue well on time with their supplier, and that isn't my problem. So I told them I still demand a new phone and not a refurbishment. They said they'll call you so you help them hold their supplier responsible."
My reply a few weeks ago was simple. I said:
"Firstly, selling a refurbished phone as new is illegal, contrary to Section 13 (1) of the Consumer Protection Act which says that a supplier must "inform a consumer that the goods sold are used goods by … placing a label on the goods that indicates that such goods are used goods (and) placing a notice on the invoice issued to a consumer".

Secondly, do they really think consumers can't identify a refurbished iPhone when they see it? It's simple. If you check the model number of an iPhone, the first letter describes its origin. If it starts with M it's new, F means refurbished and N, like in your case, means it was a replacement phone. Someone in the world returned their new iPhone to an Apple store and it was replaced with the phone you now have. And guess what? Most replacement phones have been refurbished.

Next, like you, I really don't care about their relationship with their supplier. That's their problem, not yours."
The latest update is that the store is still refusing to do the right thing. They've told their customer that I wasn't able to help them with their supplier so nothing can be done to help her. That's silly. Ridiculous. Nonsense. While I'm sympathetic to their situation, their business dealings with their supplier are their business, not yours and not mine. I've contacted them again and ask them whether they really think it's acceptable to treat a customer this way?

Must I pay after so long?

I bought a phone on hire purchase agreement from a furniture store in December 2014. It was brand new from the box. In less than 7 days the phone started freezing and becoming slow. I took it back to the shop and they told me that they will take it for repairs. I told them that the phone was still very new and it didn't deserve to be sent to a technician. I requested that they exchange and give a different phone. I was told that they will contact their suppliers and call me.

After a week I went back to them and I was told that the supplier hasn't responded to them. A month passed still awaiting their call but nothing. I paid for December but didn't pay for end January 2015. Around March 2015 I went back to them and I honestly don't remember what they were saying regarding my phone. I never bothered to check on them again. I waited for 6 years and 9 months for them to call and explain themselves but they failed and instead I received a call from a firm they use to collect their debts, saying that I owe them for the phone that I only used for less than a week. They say I should pay them the full amount which I can pay but will they bring back my phone?

This is insane.

Yes, you breached the terms of your hire purchase agreement and that's always a bad thing to do. Even though you didn't have the phone you were still committed to make the payments. However, this situation is completely absurd. They've had your phone for SEVEN YEARS and they still expect you to pay for it?

I'll contact them and suggest they either need to fix this issue immediately or find a psychiatrist.

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