Voucher refunded on our watch

Guy Holloway bought a
R1 800 gift voucher online from Incredible Connection to use towards the purchase of a Samsung Gear S3 Frontier, a premium watch, reportedly the smartphone of watches, which was on promotion.

The Muizenberg resident said that after many follow-ups asking for the voucher, by the time he received it the item was no longer available.

“The retailer couldn’t tell me whether they would be getting any more stock and I don’t want to buy anything else from them. I have been prejudiced and am now stuck with a useless voucher. I emailed Incredible Connection after calling various branches and their head office who all confirmed that the S3 was not available. They told me that they do not refund gift vouchers and sent me an extract of their terms and conditions. But it refers to software and gaming which doesn’t make sense,” Mr Holloway said.

The extract read in part: “Due to copyright laws and the nature of the goods, licensed software and games cannot be returned unless they are defective”.

As it turned out the call centre agents did send him the wrong information.

Ankia van der Pluym, spokesperson for the JD Group, a subsidiary of Pepkor which owns Incredible Connection, said they are subject to the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), the Electronic Communications and Transactions (ECT) Act, and they subscribe to the Consumer Goods and Services Ombudsman’s (CGSO) code of conduct.

And “they do not override customers’ rights”.

“A gift card may not be exchanged for cash (in this case a refund) after it has been purchased. The matter is covered in the terms and conditions on the Incredible Connection website and the customer usually accepts them before the online transaction is concluded.

“I don’t know why Mr Holloway was given the incorrect extract as it does not apply to gift cards at all. Nevertheless, the gift card policy is listed on the terms and conditions,” she said.

“The CPA says gift cards and vouchers are valid for three years after the date of issue, however, it does not prescribe that a refund has to be done, if the person no longer needs the gift card. This depends on the company’s policy,” Ms Van der Pluym said.

Mr Holloway bought the gift card for R1 800 and later required a refund because he wanted to put it towards the Samsung Gear S3
(R3 299) which was no longer in stock or on promotion.

Incredible Connection could not have known that Mr Holloway specifically wanted to buy the S3.

The gift card was never sold to him based on these conditions or requirements.

“We believe that we have acted correctly, in line with the terms and conditions accepted by the customer and in line with any legislative requirements on this matter, which is why we rejected the request for a refund, when Mr Holloway complained.

“However, we have agreed, without prejudice, to offer Mr Holloway a full refund. We have already told him and that the gift card which was issued to him at the time has been cancelled and can no longer be redeemed,” Ms Van der Pluym said.

Mr Holloway confirmed that the refund had been processed. “Thank you for your efforts in this regard, much appreciated.”