Know your Rights as a Consumer in Q8 – Read the Invoice

Always make it a habit to read the back of any invoice you receive when shopping for consumer products such as electronics etc. it makes a difference, trust me.

The past weekend proved to be a strange one. First, I awoke on Friday morning to find an unexpected visitor at my door. A cute, furry, lively, tiny, white rabbit. He proved to be a very welcome addition over the weekend. He did not arrive at my doorstep by chance; our neighbors across the hall own him as a pet, both he and a grey bunny, and they had left them outside their doorstep, Roger as I later came to call him, escaped his box and ventured across the tiled floor to my door.

Unfortunately, his owners have now removed the box, probably back into their house, and I am left heartbroken. In the 2 days I got to enjoy his company, I came to discover that I am now a rabbit person, no longer a cat person.

Roger, the rabbit that captured my heart =”(
So, during Friday, it was fated that my central AC unit goes kaput. In Kuwait’s arid climate, this is becoming of a death sentence, not just a minor inconvenience. Seeing as how this happened at night, I had to endure until Saturday, as that was when the technicians could come in.

3am on Saturday morning I went to take a friend to the airport, whilst telling my unfortunate story of no AC and no sleep, he suggested I pass by Alghanim Electronics on Tunis St. as they were open 24 hours a day.

Faced with the prospects of restless sleep, I agreed, bid him farewell at the departure hall, and went on my merry way to the store.

Now, upon selecting a fan, paying for it and subsequently receiving it, I noted that the carton in which the fan came was torn on the side. Lesson one, never accept a product that has a torn carton, you will come to know why in a second.

It was 3:30am, I wanted to sleep, so I did not complain. At home, Roger was awaiting my arrival, and in a feat of lucky rabbit feet, it appeared that the AC had repaired itself!

Upon putting the fan together, I noticed that the bottom stand of the fan was rather incredibly filthy. This further fueled my suspicion that this product was returned by someone, or that it had been on display.

I decided to take the fan back to Alghanim. I scrutinized their invoice meticulously, on the front page at the bottom in fine print it read that items once sold cannot be returned, refunded or exchanged. I was disheartened, I read the back of the invoice and, the first point stated in black and white that an item can be returned within 48 hours of purchase so long as it is in its original purchase condition. The item can be exchanged for a similar one, or a cash voucher can be received in its stead for the amount (few companies offer cash refunds).

Armed with this new revelation, I headed out to the showroom once more.

First I was asked at the sales counter to check with the technician, so I proceeded to show the technician that the bottom side of the fan did indeed look filthy. His prognosis, this is not a technical fault and he cannot authorize anything without the managers approval. Please check with the manager.
this is what it looked like, granted no one will view it, still, it looked “used”

I went to the managers office, he was no where to be found. I was then told to go to customer service, again, no one there except a man on a phone who told me to sit down and wait (politely) and that the customer service rep was on his way.

I waited there for 2 minutes whilst he yacked away on the phone, oblivious to my presence, then decided to check with the manager again.

Lo and behold, he had returned to his office.

Up to this point, it is important to note another revelation; do not go into detail about your issue with someone who cannot help, as it will be a waste of both your time and theirs. Hence, I had not spoken to the customer service telephony guy about my problem. So far, only the technician knew.

So, I met with the manager, told him my story, he asked a salesman to get a piece out of stock and check it, and at the same time, to check the item on display.

Both options showed that the bottom on all of the fans looked exactly the same.

Back in the managers office, I told him that I wished to return the fan. He said I cannot return it. I told him the invoice clearly states if it is returned within 48 hours that I can, given its original purchase condition. He responds by saying don’t take words out of context, read the whole paragraph, it says there must be a technical fault with the item. I did, and it did not.

This banter went on for some time. His second argument was that the box was torn, I told him that I had received it like that initially. He asked to check with the salesman from the graveyard shift, see if me made any note (henceforth, if you do agree to buy a product with a defective carton, make sure to take a picture of it inside the showroom) I waited for some time, and in the end, the manager conceded to taking back the fan and giving me store credit. the minimum denomination for store credit was 10KD, so I paid them the difference between the purchase price and 10KD, received my credit voucher and was on my merry way.

Always make it a habit to read the invoice. And there is no such thing as any item being “inferred”, if it is not written in plain, bold English, it does not exist.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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