I would like to informed the people reading this thread that the issue has been resolved. The issue was escalated to the office of the CEO and MD and I was assisted brilliantly by a lady by the name of Sasobeth Maharaj.
Letter Written to Vodacom - 11 July 2012
Dear Lesley Abels,
Thank you for your effort thus far regarding the below matter. However, we do not accept your offer of the refurbished 9810 unit.
In terms of the Consumer Protection Act of South Africa (CPA) (Chapter 2, Part H, 56.2) “within six months after the delivery of any goods to a consumer, the consumer may return the goods to the supplier, without penalty and at the supplier’s risk and expense”. I wish to bring to your attention that the first date of return on our unit was on 29 October 2011, 12 days after the initial upgrade on the contract.
According to our records, on 17 May 2012 the phone was once again returned for repair and returned to us. According to the CPA (Chapter 2, Part H, 56.3.a-b) “If a supplier repairs any particular goods or any component of any such goods, and within three months after that repair, the failure, defect or unsafe feature has not been remedied, or a further failure, defect or unsafe feature is discovered, the supplier must— (a) replace the goods; or (b) refund to the consumer the price paid by the consumer for the goods.” The unit was again returned in its original packaging to Vodacom Bloemfontein on 13 June 2012, well within the 3 month window period that the law protects us with.
My wife was adamant that she did not want the unit, or any other Blackberry unit from Vodacom. Vodacom made it clear that the only option we have is a brand new unit, of the same model. The option of “refund” was not offered to us, as stipulated by the CPA mentioned above. Furthermore, according to the CPA (Chapter 2, Part A, 27.1.a.) it is require of you, the supplier, to ensure that we as consumers are explained in understandable language what our rights are. This was not exercised by Vodacom. I am sure I do not need to remind Vodacom of the potential problems such an incident could bring.
We here-by wish to exercise our rights as stipulated by the CPA (Chapter 2, Part A, 56.2.b and Chapter 2, Part A, 56.3.b) to return the now sealed and unopened unit for a refund and wish to have a full refund on the R144 (inclusive of VAT) multiplied by the number of months already paid.
For almost 2 months to-date, my wife has been paying for a unit that either doesn’t work, or she does not want. The new unit is untouched and still sealed and kept in my safe at my business. I find it incredibly unfair how Vodacom manages to manipulate the law to suit their needs and pockets. Believe me when I confirm this, Vodacom is the first debit order to go off my account. And despite this and despite being told telephonically that our business is valued, unfortunately, Vodacom will not see our signatures ever again. We are being bullied by a major company into a direction that suites them despite concrete evidence, like mentioned above.
We have referred the matter to ICASA Bloemfontein to assist us on the matter. I will also place this letter on a social network and also publish this as an open letter for everybody to see. I will distribute links to these sites to as many people as I see fit as well as the CEO of Vodacom and relevant Directors.
We are disappointed in the service and customer care of Vodacom. I firmly believe that their call center should be re-named to “customer, we don’t care”.
Wish we weren’t a client...
Letter Written to Vodacom - 4 July 2012
Dear Lesley Abels
Thank you for your email.
Please confirm that this is the full and final feedback from Vodacom Repair Head Office (ref EC-Z96B-XXXXX).
As stated to you in our recorded telephonic conversations I am willing to pay in or to downgrade my contract in order to receive a new BlackBerry 9810 - a phone that can do what I require it to do.
As explained, the BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 was sold to me under the pretense that it has 8 hours of battery capacity on the 3G network - a fact that is simply untrue following further advice from Vodacom's own Customer Care Centre employees and Customer Care Call Centre agents. Furthermore, when I initially sent the phone in for repairs (29 Oct 2011, Job Card nr 71890XX-XXXXXXX) my new handset (IMEI 35684104XXXXXXX) was replaced by what was described to me as a "new phone" - which was blatantly untrue since it was a refurbished unit (IMEI 35684104XXXXXXX), as later confirmed too by Vodacom's own Customer Care Centre employees.
My respectful request is that although I do appreciate Vodacom providing me with a new, sealed BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900; I have made it clear from 17 May 2012 (when I sent the phone in for repairs for a second time, Job Card nr 78069XX-XXXXXXXX) that I no longer want this model handset because it is not able to perform the functions that the Sales Representative at my local Vodacom Customer Care Centre and Outlet (Westdene, Bloemfontein) promised it could. I also clearly stated that I am willing to pay in if necessary or to downgrade my contract in order to obtain another model handset (all this has been explained to you during our telephonic interactions).
Therefore, please either provide me with a new and sealed BlackBerry 9810 handset (upon which I will immediately return the sealed BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900) OR de-link the IMEI number (35150305XXXXXXX) of the sealed BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 from my cellular contact number (07287XXXXX) and Identity Number (XXXXXXXXXXXXX) so that I may be able to sell it - in order to buy a phone that is capable of meeting my needs - with its Manufacturer's Warranty intact.
As required by ICASA and the Consumer Commission I would like to exhaust all possible avenues and all relevant levels of seniority with my Service Provider, Vodacom, in resolving this complaint. Therefore I need to know, having fully considered my entire complaint as well as my willingness to further pay in on my contract in order to obtain another handset; that the offer as stated in your email below is the full and final offer from Vodacom Repair Head Office. If not, please advise what other channels are available to me in resolving this matter.
In my humble opinion, the logical resolution would be to replace my current (sealed) handset with another new (sealed) handset and thereby allowing me to either pay in the difference or downgrade my contract to suit that model handset.
Letter Written from Vodacom - 2 July 2012
Dear Yolandi Coetzee
We received final feedback from our Repair Head Office, with reference number EC-Z96B-XXXXX:
"We replace with reconditioned units from the Manufactures; we will not be able to replace the BB9900 with a sealed BB9810."
Should you wish to accept the offer, the handset needs to be booked in for Lindiwe's attention at ARC (advance repair centre). Please note that no handsets leave the warehouse without a job number.
The accessories received with the sealed unit (BB9900) should be kept, as the replacement unit (BB9810) will not be including accessories.
eService Senior Consultant