The Consumer Goods & Services Ombud (CGSO) has issued a warning to consumers to exercise caution when transacting with PC Link Computers Online Store, the supplier operates online offering computers, electrical appliances, and accessories.
CGSO mentioned that, since from April 2021 to April 2022, the CGSO has received over 200 complaints against PC Link Computers, and since January 2022, the number has rapidly increased to date. Due to the non-cooperation by PC Link in resolving complaints referred to them, the CGSO has been forced to terminate these cases and report them to the National Consumer Commission for possible investigation and enforcement.
When the CGSO office started dealing with the complaints against this supplier, they responded directly to the complainants, providing them with refunds and delivering the outstanding goods. However, for unknown reasons PC Link has since stopped cooperating with the CGSO office on the opened cases, hence the issuing of the warning.
Ms. Magauta Mphahlele of Ombud of Consumer Goods and Services Sector had this to say: Taking money from consumers and then failing to deliver the goods and services on the agreed date and time is a possible contravention of section 19 and 41 of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and the CGSO cannot stand by and allow rogue online suppliers to steal the hard earned monies of consumers.
Section 19 of the CPA stipulates that, suppliers are responsible for delivering goods or services on the agreed date and time or otherwise within a reasonable time after concluding a transaction or agreement. Where the supplier fails to deliver as agreed or fails to reach an agreement regarding alternative dates and time, the consumer has the right to cancel the transaction without penalty and to receive a full refund.
The following information is guideline that urges all online suppliers of goods and services to comply with the CPA, to help avert crisis such as that of PC Link Computers:
- Displaying correct pricing. Where there is an error, it must be communicated to consumers and be corrected within a reasonable time, otherwise consumers are entitled to purchase at the displayed price;
- Providing a detailed description of the goods or services to avoid consumers ordering goods that are not fit for purpose;
- Displaying delivery times and communicating delays to consumers;
- Disclosing key terms and conditions, including return and refunds timeframes and channels;
- Displaying contact details and escalation processes if consumers have any queries;
- Avoiding bait marketing or overselling by ensuring that there is sufficient stock or indicating stock limitations in all advertisements where applicable;
- Avoid accepting monies from consumers if there is no stock or capacity to deliver the goods or services at the agreed time and date;
- Disclosing any other additional costs that the consumer would incur, including any delivery costs or cancellation penalties; and
- Providing a system for consumers to track their deliveries.
Lastly, consumers who shop online are advised to stick to reputable retailers and to especially be wary of unrealistically low deals. They are further advised to do their homework before parting with their hard-earned monies by checking with online communities before transacting from any online sites. Complaints are inevitable but reputable suppliers always respond to and provide redress to their customers.
For more information, you can contact Ouma Ramaru@:
Tel: (011) 781 2607
Cell: 073 899 9551
Alternately, you can reach the CGSO sharecall helpline on:
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