Saturday 21 October 2023

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

It's too hard!

I bought a bed from a store at Airport Junction and I used it for 2 weeks but now the bed is too firm for me. I went to the shop and they told me I can top up with P2,000 plus for me to get the more comfortable bed I want? Is this fair?

Unfortunately for you I suspect it is fair.

As consumers we have a wide range of protections and perhaps the most important is that we don't need to accept faulty goods. If a product is faulty we can return it to the store within 6 months for one of the three Rs: a repair, a replacement or a refund. However, it's important to remember that the store can choose which of the three Rs they choose. It's up to them to decide. They are, for instance, entitled to repair something they sold you that's faulty. However, it's also important to know that if that repair fails within 3 months and the same problem occurs again, they lose that R. Now they only have two Rs: a replacement or a refund.

But your case is different. From what you've said, there's nothing actually faulty about the bed. It's just a matter of taste? Some people like really soft beds, others like them really firm and most of us are in between. The lesson here is to do whatever you can (within reason, don't get arrested for public indecency!) to test a mattress before you buy it.

I suspect in this case the best option is to see if you can upgrade the mattress to one that's more suitable for you.

Who should I pay?

I recently got Transunion feedback that I am owing a furniture store. I called their office for payment arrangements and I was told my file has been handed over to a certain debt collection company which I contacted. I was then told my account is now into them and any payment arrangement should be done to them not the furniture store. I went back to the store for a proof that I am now paying a certain company which I don't have any agreement with. I was requesting for either a letter or anything that I will use as a confirmation but they refused to give me any proof. Now my question is how can I trust that company with my money and after clearing the debt who is going to clear my name from Transunion?

I haven't yet visited their office, they were only communicating through phone calls and WhatsApp. Kindly advise, thank you.

You have my respect for being cautious. However, this seems legit to me. Firstly wasn't it the furniture store that told you that the debt was now with the debt collection company? You gave me the name of the debt collection company and they seem to check out ok. They are a registered company and are public about the work they do.

However, I also think you're right that the furniture store should have told you officially that they were transferring the debt to this company. You were right to be cautious and when debt is involved there needs to be some trust and responsibility by everyone involved.

As for your last question, I suspect the answer is that you now deal entirely with the debt collectors. Obviously I don't know the details of this arrangement but often a lender like a bank or furniture store will give up chasing a customer who owes them money and sell the debt to a debt collector, often for a fraction of the outstanding amount. But now it's the debt collector to whom you owe money. The full amount.

In this situation the best thing you can do is meet with the debt collection people and negotiate a repayment plan that you can afford and they will accept.

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