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 user 2008-07-01 at 11:00:55 am Views: 112
  • #20071
    Don’t pay for what you didn’t order
    week I receive e-mails that ram home the fact that the Consumer
    Protection Bill can’t be passed into law quickly enough.They provide
    perfect case studies for many of the bill’s provisions.Section 21, for
    example, concerns “unsolicited goods or services”.It states: “If a
    supplier delivers a larger quantity of goods than the consumer agreed
    to buy, the excess goods are unsolicited unless the consumer has
    rejected the entire delivery.”If a person is in possession of any
    unsolicited goods, the person may (a) retain the goods or (b) return
    the goods to the apparent supplier or deliverer at the risk and expense
    of the supplier or deliverer.”

    Unfortunately for a pastor in
    Port Elizabeth, South African consumers don’t yet have the protection
    of this bill, although it has been tabled in parliament.The pastor told
    me how he’d been approached by a Sandton-based business called SA Image
    Solutions, inviting him to buy what was said to be superior-quality,
    oil-based printer cartridges.He agreed to buy one set at a cost of
    R980, and duly received the cartridges in the mail.

    But it didn’t end there.
    they sent us another set of cartridges, then called, telling us to pay
    for them.”I had a long argument with a man calling himself Gavin,
    telling him that we didn’t order another set.”He lied, saying we had
    ordered two sets initially and had to pay for both.”I asked him to
    prove that we ordered two, but he couldn’t.”In the end, the pastor, not
    wishing to do anything that may reflect badly on his church’s good
    reputation, gave in and paid for the second set.

    But when a third set arrived, he dug in his heels.
    man calling himself Craig called me from SA Image Solutions, telling me
    we had originally ordered three sets and due to delays they couldn’t
    send all of them at once, so they had staggered our order.”I told him I
    had never ordered three sets.”The pastor then received a fax from the
    company, assuring him that if he paid for the third set, they would
    stop sending the cartridges to him.

    But he has no intention of giving in a second time.
    Hellopeter consumer complaints website has several complaints about the
    same company.Most of the complainants claim they were repeatedly sent
    printer cartridges that they hadn’t agreed to buy.One wrote: “I agreed
    to buy two ‘top-quality’ cartridges at a 25 percent discounted rate and
    received a Woolworths voucher as a ‘thank you’.”I received two
    cartridges, and then another three, and when I called to advise the
    company that I hadn’t placed such an order, I was told that it was the
    remainder of my initial order, and that they could only supply a
    minimum of five.”

    Several complainants claim they were verbally
    abused, harassed and threatened with legal action and blacklisting if
    they refused to pay.Of course, in the absence of any written proof that
    the consumers were failing to pay for goods that they had legitimately
    ordered, those threats, if they were indeed issued, were
    empty.Contacted for comment, SA Image Solutions owner Krishna Naicker
    said because the company provided small businesses with the fantastic
    offer of a 25% discount on the cartridges, the deal only applied to a
    minimum order of three sets of cartridges.”But because we cold call
    people all over the country, getting their names and numbers from phone
    directories, and don’t do credit checks, we can’t send all three sets
    in one go.”Instead, we wait to see if they pay for the first set and
    then send the second and third,” he said.”We can’t just supply all
    three sets at once because they might run away and not pay.”The sales
    staff were instructed to tell prospective customers that the price was
    conditional upon a minimum order of three sets of cartridges, Naicker
    said.”But sometimes the sales clerks get things wrong,” he conceded.As
    for the threatening “pay up” calls his employees are alleged to have
    made, Naicker said his company was “aggressive” in compelling clients
    to pay, because “thousands” accepted the cartridges, but refused to pay
    for them.

    The call centre conversations were not taped, so there was no proof of who said what.
    of the story: It’s always risky to buy products, unseen, over the phone
    from people or companies you haven’t done business with before.And any
    time a company or individual claims you owe them money, insist that
    they prove it.This can be by means of a signed document or phone
    conversation recording – showing you agreed to buy the product or
    service at that price.