HiI recently took my Huawei smartphone t...

Asked by Lexi on 03-08-2021 12:05:29
Question posted in the General Law category relating to Gauteng

Hi

I recently took my Huawei smartphone to receive a quote for fixing the cracked screen at Smartfix Benmore Gardens. I took an old iphone and samsung too out of curiosity for them to quote me on their repairs as I saw online their prices are reasonable.

I handed in the 3 phones after explaining what was wrong with each and explicitely stated the Huawei was the priority and others mere curiosity for receiving quotes.

A few days later I was quoted R6600 or so over the phone. The Huawei was 3 something, iphone under 1 and samsung under R2000. I then said it is way too much as I had received a quote for the huawei of R1500. I declined the quote and said I would pick up the phones not that week as I am extremely busy, but the following week.

I wasn't phoned, but I sent an uber connect to pick up my phones whereby he was informed I owe 6000 and something for the fixed phones. I argued with them, but they insisted I agreed.

My solid proof of refusal is me ordering AND PAYING for the parts of these phones just a few days ago after I handed in the phones and BEFORE I sent an Uber connect. Why would I do that?

Please help. 

Further information relating to Question:

Sorry was probably meant to submit under consumer protection law.

Information Requested by Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 03-08-2021 12:48:12

Hi there and thank you for your question,

I am a practicing attorney based in South Africa and I will assist you with your question. Please feel free to ask as many follow up questions in order to clarify your question. If you have a new question, you must please open a new thread.

Please keep in mind that our discussions is for general information purposes only. Our engagement on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. 

Do you mind if I take a moment to review your question? I will come back to you shortly!

Att. Patrick

Information Requested by Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 03-08-2021 12:50:36

So if I understand you correctly, you obtained a quote to fix all 3 phones, and once you received the quote, you decided that you did not want to proceed with the quotes, so you rejected them.

However, without your knowledge or consent, they fixed the phones and now want to charge you the quoted price?

On their website, they say that they offer a free smartphone assessment, which implies that they don't charge for quotes.

Information provided by client

Yes that is all correct indeed.

Information provided by client

And they now also say I consented to the fixing of the phones, which I honest to God did not as I would NEVER be able to afford spending R6000 just to fix 3 phones. I also have proof of purchasing a screen and a flex cable inquiry for the Samsung (all done on bid or buy so I can fix the phones myself). Before I spoke to them about picking up the phones and after declining quote I purchased these parts on bid or buy!!!

I will copy and paste the mail they sent to my husband about this issue. His name is Josh. He also heard me declining the quote over the phone just as they say they have witnesses of me accepting over the phone which Is an outright lie.

Herewith follows their mail

----- Forwarded message ---------

From: <***BLOCKED-EMAIL-ADDRESS***>

Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2021 at 10:13

Subject: RE: Phones for Lexi

To: Josh Basson <***BLOCKED-EMAIL-ADDRESS***>

Good morning Josh

My apology for delayed response, I was gathering all the relevant facts about the current Issue both of us are confronted with and personally, regardless of any business politics believe that verbal agreement on repair was reached between both parties involved.

The booking form have adjusted prices mentioned which are different from system prices, suggesting a quotation discussion.

The devices were at the store for assessment and quotation for about a week prior to driver’s arrival at the shop for collection. The duration involved exceeds time necessary for a straight forward screens \ back cover replacements.

Any miscommunication is not driver’s fault but owner of the devices who may have changed her mind after confirmation of quotation for a more cost effective option. Cheaper prices equates to sub standard parts and usually end up being less cost effective in a long run.

Regardless, devices are repaired and need to be collected because Collections are bound by a acceptable time frame. It is not possible for Smartfix to remove replaced parts and return them back to the suppliers, and take a loss on purchased parts which are ordered and replaced only upon detailed assessment and then a quotation, depending on the nature of repairs required.

If Cost Involved is currently beyond your budget , it can be negotiated to an logical level so both parties involved can have an ideal resolution.

Regards

Answer to the Question

Posted by Att. Patrick on 04-08-2021 09:19:36

Okay, so it sounds like you are now dealing with a "he said she said" situation whereby they think that you gave them the go-ahead to repair your phones and you are adamant that you didn't. 

If you can't resolve this dispute by negotiation with them, then your only option is to go to the Small Claims Court and issue a summons against the company claiming delivery of the phones to you. 

The case will be heard by a commissioner, who, after hearing evidence from you and from the company, will need to make a decision as to whether or not he/she believes that an agreement was concluded. 

Based on that evidence, the company will either be ordered to return the telephones to you, or you will be ordered to pay for the repairs - obviously it all depends on who the commissioner believes, but any evidence that you can produce (e.g. the fact that you bought replacement parts to repair the phone yourself) can definitely work in your favour! 

Information provided by client

Thank you. Just a quick question - can I not go to the ombudsman?

And is there any way I can set up a legal document to "demand" my phones back. I mean you don't know me from a bar of soap but I of course know beyond doubt that this is just plain bull and a blatant lie. It is possibly a desperate strategy to increase profits in event of targets not being met, or possibly to help a business that is underperforming or to help the looming closure of a business by just pretending you agreed to a quote, then fixing your phones and then you have nothing to do but pay. Because who would give up 3 smartphones? If I had to sell them I would get at least R15,000. So in their eyes they vote for the odds of you not taking them to court because you dont want to go through the trouble and you know your phones are worth double that. Its very sly theft because they have you by the balls. Excuse my crass language. So I can pay them R6000 right now. But why should I? I didnt want to spend R6000 on my old phones. They took away my right to decide how to spend MY MONEY. MY HARD EARNED CASH. MY RIGHT to decide.
They looked at me, in a store in one of the richest suburbs in SA and assumed I would just happily shut up, pay, and go. And itakes me FURIOUS. I work incredibly hard for my money. And I don't get any freebies. So to me its just a case of they need to be held accountable. Punished. And I need my phones.

Answer to the Question

Posted by Att. Patrick on 10-08-2021 10:12:10

Yes, if you can't resolve it yourself with the company, then you can refer your dispute to the CONSUMER GOODS AND SERVICES OMBUD.  But that is not necessarily going to get your phones back the quickest.  The quickest route would be to sue them.

You would need to send them a letter of demand requiring them to give your phones back. That would be a good idea.

I completely understand what you're saying, and I get it. So don't pay them. Demand the phones be returned. Get the Ombudsman to force them to do this, or get a court to force them. 

Just be aware that the whole process might take some time...

Information provided by client

Thank you very much. In an unforseen twist of events they said they are taking the parts out, leaving my screens bare and I have to sign off on their non liability after the phones leave the store. Really? What does he think I am stupid and would fall for this? So I said to him no can do buddy.... But LATER i sort of caved by saying I'll pay them what I bought the parts for at bid or buy which is R1200 and I do not take this behaviour lightly and I will leave a decisively horrid review as I am in the top 2% of reviewers for sandton on google maps as a guide so it does carry some clout, sort of lol. Not much I know but it does help a bit sometimes. If you want I will give you a final report as this drama ends. With me and 3 phones reunited. Hopefully. Thank you very much Sir. I appreciate your help sincerely. My next legal questions will soon follow with new submissions and payments. Seems I have quite a few legal dilemmas that need sorting... Have a great, safe, healthy week.

Answer to the Question

Posted by Att. Patrick on 11-08-2021 10:03:01

Well done!

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