Saturday, 25 March 2023

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

They lost my bags!

I boarded a bus from Kasane to Gaborone on March 14th. My bag was loaded in the bus storage without a tag. I inquired about the tag and was told they are running out of tags but our luggage is safe. My bag was missing when I arrived. The conductor traced it and established that the bag was taken by someone in Francistown. In fact it was stolen because this person is said to be moving around stealing bags from buses. The conductor said that they are still investigating to see if they can recover the bag.

I am writing to seek advice from you because I have been inconvenienced.

I think you've been more than just inconvenienced. I think you're being mistreated and abused.

Clearly the bus company have been negligent by not caring for your property adequately. Section 14 (1) of the Consumer Protection Act says that when a company offers services (such as transporting you and your luggage from Kasane to Gaborone) they must do so "in a manner and quality that consumers are reasonably entitled to expect". I think it's reasonable to expect a bus company to take reasonable care of our belongings and I think it's reasonable for them to have luggage tags if that helps them do this.

If their claim that someone stole your belongings is correct, then where is your copy of the police report? Where are the updates from the police investigation? Or is it possible they haven't even reported the theft?

And if they already knew that there's someone stealing bags from buses why aren't they focussing more on security? Why are they being so careless?

Unfortunately, when we spoke you told me that you didn't have any household insurance policies that might have covered the cost of replacing your lost belongings. But where is the bus company's insurance policy? Have they mentioned that? Is it possible that they don't have insurance? If not, why not?

I've contacted the bus company. Let's see how they're prepared to fix this. 

Update: The bus company responded saying that they "just got the phone number of the suspect we're planning a trip to francistown to report the matter since the bag was stolen there". Let's see what happens next?

The insurance policy won't cover me!

Can you please help me here. I bought a television last year around June. Around December while I was at work two unknown men came to my house and told my son that his mom told them to come and collect the TV for repair.

I reported it to Broadhurst police and they provided me with a police report and I submitted it to the store. After that they gave me a letter telling me that their insurance doesn't cover that kind of theft. So I have to continue paying the instalments. Is this fair?

No, it's certainly not fair. But it is the way these things work.

When you buy things on hire purchase the deal usually includes an insurance policy that covers you against the theft or destruction of the goods you're buying. However, there are several problems with these policies.

Firstly, they're incredibly expensive, often several times more expensive than a normal household insurance policy you could get for yourself from an insurance company. It's always better to get your own policy and then use that to cover any goods you buy from the store. The store is required to allow you to do this.

Secondly, there are restrictions hidden in the small print of the policy that it seems they forgot, or chose not to tell you about. One of them is that the insurance against theft usually says that it only covers theft when there's a break-in, when there's been forceable entry. It doesn't cover the sort of con that you experienced.

And then there's the final problem, the final insult. You do still need to continue paying the instalments, even though you don't have the television any longer. That's because it's what it says in the agreement you signed.

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