There is this IT store which offers 2-year “Guarantee Savings” membership at a fee of $30.
Benefits of membership include guaranteed minimum savings of $50 over 2-year membership period and if savings are less than $20, a $40 cheque will be refunded within 30 days.
I signed up for this membership and did not enjoy savings up to $20 when my membership expired recently. I applied for my $40 cheque refund. After a delay of more than 50 days and following an email reminder I was offered refund in voucher instead. I turned down its offer telling the store that it made a mistake in offering voucher refund instead of cheque. I did not receive any response after one week. I then sent an email reminder and another week later followed up with a visit to the store.
At the store I was told that the membership T&C include a clause, which give the store the right to amend or withdraw any term, condition and member benefits without notice. Hence the store exercised this right to amend term, to offer refund in voucher instead of cheque. I told the store that such unfair right is illegal and not enforceable and that I would file a claim with the Small Claim Tribunal (SCT) if I do not get my refund in cheque. Two days after, I emailed the store recounting my visit to the store, stating my stand and requested a response from it.
The store responded within the next few days. It agreed to a cheque refund but required processing time of 90 to 120 days. I was shocked and concerned to read that. A company that need to delay payment for a small sum of $40 is either not sincere in wanting to settle a claim or is in very poor financial health; probably facing severe cash flow problem which may lead it to liquidation. By then my claim was 45 days overdue. I wrote back to object to the further delay and raise my concern on the store financial stability and set a deadline for settlement, failing which I would file a claim with the SBT to expedite payment. I did not follow up after that, as it was the start of the World Cup 2010 season.
After the world cup and when I was about to file my claim with the SCT, the store informed me to collect my cheque; after a long delay of 82 days.
While I am glad to have this issue settled to my satisfaction, I also regret not being able to see how this store is going to defend its stand at the SCT.
The purpose of this post is to inform others how shabbily this store treated its customers and to advise consumers to stand up for their rights. An organization cannot rely on unfair terms and conditions in any agreement to short-changed consumers.
If you are in a similar situation like me and prefer your refund in cheque, insist on a cheque. Don’t let this store force you to accept voucher.