Peter Desjardins of Sunningdale ordered an Asus laptop from Takealot for R4 899, which according to the website, had a fingerprint sensor and three USB ports.
However, when he started to personalise the device he realised it had no fingerprint sensor and only two USB ports.
“I checked the website again and noticed that the specific model was an ASUS X407MA but it was priced at R3 869, a lower spec version of the one I had wanted to purchase,” said Mr Desjardin, who believed Takealot was in contravention of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), even though the online store said they are bound by the code.
Mr Desjardins said he contacted Takealot several times but they kept telling him to return the item for a refund.
According to their returns policy, the item must not have been personalised.
“So, the fact that I started to personalise the laptop would preclude a refund being granted. However, I am prepared to keep the laptop, but asked them to reimburse me the price difference between the two models,” Mr Desjardins said.
Takealot’s call centre agent, Sibulele Ndengezi, said: “Please be advised that we are not able to credit or refund part of the payment as we can only process a full refund once the item has been returned. Please advise if you want to return the item or keep the item for the return to be cancelled.”
However, Mr Desjardins said he cannot return the item due to their returns policy and it listed a whole lot of conditions including, “If it has been personalised; if we accidentally deliver the wrong product to you, or if the product is not as described on the website, please notify us and we will collect the product from you at no charge or credit your account with the purchase price of the product within 10 days of the return (or refund you if that is your preference).”
“In my case, it doesn’t apply because the device has been personalised, which aligns with their returns policy about ‘a product which has been personalised for you or made to your specifications’. All I want is a partial refund (or credit) for R1 030 – the price difference between the two models,” the Sunningdale resident said.
Although Mr Desjardins did lodge a complaint with the consumer goods ombud he thought they would take too long to resolve it.
I advised Mr Desjardins to visit the Takealot warehouse in Montague Gardens where they were less than helpful.
But no worse than the responses I received from the Takealot marketing team, who it seems just press a reply button without reading the message:
“Hello. Thanks for getting in touch with the Takealot Marketing team. You’ll hear from one of us within the next 2-3 working days – even faster if it happens to be a super exciting email. For customer queries & complaints, you can reach us here: https://secure.takealot.com/help For requests to stock your product at Takealot, you can apply here: http://www.takealot.com/sell We’ll only be able to respond to your email at this address if it’s related to our PR & Marketing teams. Thanks a lot, The Takealot Team”, is one example.
The others were in similar vein.
Finally, more than a month after he asked for a refund, Mr Desjardins confirmed that Takealot agreed to pay in the difference.
“It’s been a struggle but thankfully the correct outcome has prevailed. Thanks again for your help and support on the sidelines. I’m sure it did indirectly have an influence on the final outcome,” Mr Desjardins said.
Celeste Koopman of Takealot told Mr Desjardins: “Thank you for your patience. We’ve received feedback from our team that we will be crediting you the difference of R1 030 because of the inconvenience caused by the incorrect listing and also the long time it’s taken to resolve this matter. We’ve been informed by the products department that the product you received, without the scanner did retail for R4 899 at the time and that the similar product with the addition of the fingerprint scanner would sell for more than R4 899. We’ve also been informed that the supplier’s pricing increased since the past price of R3 869, for the same product, which is why there was an increase in the selling price when you placed your order for the ASUS Notebook.
“I’ll revert back to you as soon as the credit has been loaded onto your profile.”
After the issue had been resolved Takealot, as is standard, asked me how I rated their service. I said I rated their communication with the media as less than zero.
Said Ms Koopman, “We’re sorry to hear you feel this way. When a return does not meet the requirements outlined in our policy it could lead to a delay in processing the request (as also outlined in our policy) which was the case with Mr Desjardins as manual intervention and investigation are required.
We’ve been in touch with Mr Desjardins directly to assist and consider this matter closed.
“Thank you for the opportunity, but we don’t have any commentary to add to your story.”