Saturday 9 December 2023

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Should they refund me?

Hi Richard. I need your help. I bought a dress on the 19th of November, and in buying the dress, I told the lady assisting me that I am buying for my mom and would like to make a video call so she sees. She agrees and I end buying the dress. My mom got back yesterday, she fits the dress and it doesn't fit. Today I take back the dress hoping for an exchange or refund. I am told if I exchange there is a 30% penalty fee, but there is no refund. Their explanation is I could have changed the same day. That was not communicated initially. The receipt as well has no clause of that. In trying to get an explanation, the lady rudely tells me that it does not matter, its their boutique rules whether I was told or not. I have tried to reason that at least if this was communicated when I was buying the dress because no one literally said anything. How is that blamed on us. Kindly assist.

I'm sorry to hear about this. However, I'm not sure there's much you can do.

As you know, consumers have a right to return faulty items within 6 months for a repair, replacement or a refund. However, in this situation, the dress isn't actually faulty, it's just the wrong size? The problem for you here is that the store has done nothing wrong as I can see it.

It's unfortunate but your mother really should have tried the dress on before you paid for it. A video connection isn't a good enough substitute. Looking back, it also would have been better if you'd asked the store if you could exchange the dress later if it didn't fit.

Given the circumstances, I think it's reasonable for the store to charge you a fee for returning the dress. 30% seems high to me so it might be worth trying to negotiate but prepare yourself for having to pay them something.

Must I pay for the broken door?

My son accidentally shattered the glass door to a store and they say I am to replace the door. What's the law saying on this one? They are saying they don't have the insurance policy. Can you help me out?

There's a general rule that I'm sure we all agree on. If you break something belonging to someone else, you pay for it. If I came to your home and broke something valuable clearly it's my responsibility to replace it or pay for it to be repaired. We can all agree about that.

But this situation is slightly different. Any reputable store will have an insurance policy that covers losses like this. Like most insurance policies there might be an "excess" amount that the policyholder pays before the insurance company pays out but it's worth finding out how much it is. But the store staff told you there's no insurance policy? Can that really be true?

I contacted the Head Office and their story was different. They told me that the staff asked the children's grandmother, who was with the children, "to stop running around the store to avoid getting injured or bumping into fixtures". After one of the children ran into the door and broke it, the manager "requested for details from the grandmother so that she could log an incident for the Insurance claim".

They said that these details were refused and the staff were told that it's like "when a customer breaks a bottle of mayonnaise and that they are never requested to pay."

So there IS an insurance policy. I think you need to contact the store and help them complete an insurance claim before the insurance company says it's too late to claim and you need to pay for everything yourself.

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