Reaching out and assisting consumers’ complaints

Published July 3, 2021, 7:00 AM

by Atty. Vic Dimagiba

In the past days, Laban Konsyumer Inc. has received consumer requests for assistance. These are good materials to share through this column as the subject matters are varied and consumers can learn from them.

One request that I got was seeking assistance regarding inaccurate car loan computation from East West Bank.  I asked the consumer to send the complaint to [email protected] , which was  acknowledged promptly by  ARTA. Said  agency shall assist the consumer when the other agencies like BSP, the insurance company, the dealer of Toyota and the bank were not able to help the consumer on a simple matter.

Another consumer also reached out to me for help with their complaint involving Suzuki Motors Philippines.

The consumer wrote the company saying “I am strongly emphasizing that the very reason we bought a brand-new car is because we do not need to carry burden in spending money, specially P102,000 for car maintenance, do you get my point here? Who buys a brand-new car, and spend 100,000 for parts? Did I buy a second-hand car here? Absolutely not! I chose Suzuki with confidence that is economical and a quality car. However, what we feel and what we experience is totally otherwise, we are feeling disappointed, and really unhappy and unsatisfied, the car is less than 3 yrs old.”

The letter continued “We NEED a service; we go to work every day and now what?  We commute? It is discomforting, we are still in pandemic and raining, we couldn’t use the car. What makes it more distressing, we are still paying the monthly amortization and the car is stagnant in the Casa and we do not get a clarity on how soon we can get back our car and to make the matter worst Suzuki Alabang is asking us to pay for P101,452.88 for parts, which is an internal issue. Is this for real?”

I advised the consumer to file the complaint with  [email protected]   so the parties will be called to mediation to settle the issues.

Another consumer also reached out to ask why his rates from Pampanga Electric Cooperative  or PELCO were high, and we responded that on PELCO II, data from this webpage (https://pelco2.com/content/kX7rbq7G/Rates) shows that the electric cooperative buys around 40 percent of electricity from the spot market or  WESM. 

Thus, when WESM charges went up from April to May due to the tight supply conditions, PELCO II’s generation charges went up from May 2021’s P4.71/kWh to June 2021’s P6.68/kWh (or by around P1.97/kWh).  With VAT, the rate impact of the generation charge increase would be closer to P2.20/kWh.  This would be close to the figures mentioned in the complaint.

Another consumer informed me about his repair experience in Carrier aircon units. The consumer said that “While it is to be expected that manufacturer accredited service providers may cost more than non-accredited ones, what is a reasonable premium to their service charges? What profit or handling premium are they allowed to add to the cost of parts procured? And can this handling premium be made transparent to the customer? Note this way the customer knows the source and the genuineness of the parts.”

The consumer   raised a  good point in asking “Can Carrier and other appliance brands be encouraged to provide more reasonable parts warranty on new units and repaired units? I recall Carrier became market leader in the air conditioning business in the 70/80s because of the long 10-year warranty on compressors. By lengthening warranty period on parts, use of fake and inferior ones are discouraged. And the load to the environment in disposing of these parts is directionally lessened. Can Carrier and other appliance brands be encouraged to provide better labor warranty, especially work done by accredited service providers? This way our service technicians would be encouraged to be the best in their field. And lots of customer frustrations and blood pressure rise would also be averted. Can Carrier and other appliance brands accredited service providers be required to submit complete written quotations for service or repairs to be made, to include timeline, especially the non-routine types? I think the consumer  has the right to examine and judge the reasonableness of the quote.”

Another consumer from  Cebu bought a defective insulin pen and the pharmacy gave the consumer a hard time to  provide  a replacement item. I advised the consumer that under the Consumer Act, the pharmacy should replace a defective item. In turn, the pharmacy can seek reimbursement from its distributor or suppler.

In connection  with these consumer complaints,  my sources informed me that due to  the volume, the turn around time for resolution  of  complaints is a  minimum of thirty  (30) days, whereas under the Citizens Charter, complaints such as these should be resolved in  less than ten (10)  days . Laban Konsyumer therefore calls on merchants to promptly honor their liabilities under the Consumer Act.

(These complaints were received from Messrs. Al Trio, Hero Velarde, Enrico Medina, Norman Manago and Jonathan Nuguid).

Atty. Vic Dimagiba, AB, LLB, LLM

President of Laban Konsyumer Inc., a full term member of Consumers International

Email us at [email protected]

 
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