Ironing out the problem

My cousin’s iron stopped steaming and she started steaming.

She only had it for what seemed like a short while however, as with all irons, kettles and toasters, it was just out of guarantee.

She took it to a local electrician who repairs appliances and he said that on first glance it looked like a loose connection or something minor, and that he would take a closer look at it later that day.

On the same day, he called to tell her that it was fixed and ready to collect but when she arrived she was told that the repair cost R300.

She hadn’t specified that she wanted a quote before any work was done, probably because when she was told it was a minor issue, she assumed it would not cost much to fix.

Considering that she could get a brand new iron straight out of the box for R329, one can understand the frustration. My cousin refused to pay for the work done and a heated argument ensued. Eventually she stormed out and left the iron at the shop and went and got herself a new one.

The Consumer Protection Act is very clear on the right of a consumer to give authorisation for any repairs done.

The act is clear that a service provider may not charge for services unless he has given an estimate and the consumer has agreed to it. The consumer may refuse to pay for unapproved work. It is not up to the consumer to ask for a quote as the obligation to provide an estimate lies with the service provider.

My cousin who walked out in a huff was well within her rights to take her iron without paying a cent towards the repair and that is one of the risks faced by service providers, who must at all times keep their customers informed.

Don’t be caught out, get your estimate before accepting the bill.

Edited by Stacey Woensdregt

Garry Hertzberg

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