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Scrutinise items well

Consumer Council Of Fiji
Saturday, August 12, 2017

PURCHASING a second-hand or used electronic good can be risky.

This is because of the simple reason that the item has gone through considerable wear and tear by the previous users and the consumer may not know whether they are paying a high price for the used item.

Hence, it becomes important for consumers to scrutinise the item well before making a decision to purchase it.

This includes inspecting the item for any physical damage and faults.

Some unscrupulous traders who repossess electronic goods on hire-purchase are aware that the item has some faults.

However, they fail to disclose the true picture to consumers and put it up for resale at high prices.

It is in such situations that consumers need to exercise responsibility by checking the items they intend to purchase thoroughly.

On the outset it may always look fine.

Nonetheless, consumers must practically check the item to understand how long it would serve its purpose.

The council recently came across a case where a consumer was sold a refrigerator which failed to function from the time of its purchase.

Ramesh bought a used Panasonic refrigerator from a prominent hardware outlet for $680.

At the time of the purchase, he did not test the item because he was advised to switch it on only after 24 hours.

After taking the refrigerator home he did exactly as he was advised by the trader, however, the refrigerator failed to operate when he tried to switch it on the next day.

The top and bottom component of the refrigerator were faulty as it failed to cool and the light did not switch on as well.

Frustrated with how he was sold a faulty refrigerator, Ramesh lodged his complaint with the council and sought redress in the form of refund.

Despite the item being sold on three months warranty, Ramesh did not want the refrigerator since it had failed to operate right after the time of purchase.

When the council intervened, the trader acted immediately and agreed to take the item for repairs.

Nevertheless, Ramesh was still not willing to accept the repaired item.

The council sought a full refund which was provided to Ramesh within three days.

As a consumer, Ramesh had the right to get compensation for the product which was not fit for its purpose.

Alternatively, Ramesh had the responsibility to inspect the refrigerator properly prior to the purchase, however, he failed to make necessary checks on the item.

Consumers need to take note that while second-hand electronic items are very easy to find, it is always wise to consider the factors which may help in decision making.

The merits and demerits should be considered before buying a second-hand item.

When buying second-hand electronic goods, take a close look at the condition of the item that you are buying to make sure that it does not look like it is going to fail within few months of purchase.

Enquire whether the second-hand electronic good will come with backup service and warranty.

Usually retailers will issue a limited warranty or no warranty, which could add to your decision-making process.

Being inquisitive will prevent consumers undue hassle of running around and spending hard earned money to get a redress. Instead, it will give assurance to consumers that they are investing in merchantable items.

The council further reminds traders to engage in ethical business practices and not sell shoddy products to consumers.

Traders should ensure that the second-hand electronic goods put up for sale are in usable condition and worth the price it is being sold for.

Consumers should inspect the used electronic products and further enquire whether it comes with backup service and/or warranty.

Those consumers who feel they have been wrongfully sold used electronic goods are encouraged to call the national consumer helpline toll-free number 155 to seek advice and lodge their complaints.

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