Reaching out and assisting consumer complaints – Manila Newsletter
Over the past few days, Laban Konsyumer Inc. has received requests for assistance from consumers. These are good materials to share through this column as the topics are varied and consumers can learn from them.
A request I received was seeking help regarding the incorrect calculation of a car loan in the East West Bank. I have asked the consumer to send the complaint to [email protected] , which was quickly recognized by ARTA. Said agency must assist the consumer when other agencies like BSP, the insurance company, the Toyota dealership and the bank have not been able to help the consumer with a simple matter.
Another consumer also contacted me for help with their complaint about Suzuki Motors Philippines.
The consumer wrote to the company saying, “I strongly emphasize that the very reason we bought a brand new car is that we don’t need to spend the money, especially P102,000 on it. car maintenance, do you understand what I mean here? Who buys a new car and spends 100,000 on parts? Did I buy a used car here? Absolutely not! I confidently chose Suzuki which is economical and a quality car. However, how we feel and what we experience is totally different, we feel disappointed, and really unhappy and dissatisfied, the car is less than 3 years old.
The letter continued: “We NEED a service; we are going to work every day and now what? Shall we commute? It’s embarrassing, we’re still in a pandemic and it’s raining, we couldn’t use the car. What makes it more painful we always pay the monthly depreciation and the car stagnates in the Casa and we don’t know how soon we can get our car back and to make matters worse Suzuki Alabang asks us to pay for P101,452 , 88 for parts, which is an internal problem. Is it real?”
I advised the consumer to file the complaint with [email protected] the parties will therefore be called to mediation to resolve the issues.
Another consumer also asked why his Pampanga Electric Cooperative or PELCO tariffs were high, and we responded that on PELCO II, the data on this web page (https://pelco2.com/content/kX7rbq7G/Rates) shows that the electric cooperative buys about 40 percent of the electricity on the spot market or WESM.
So when WESM costs increased from April to May due to tight supply conditions, PELCO II production costs went from P4.71 / kWh from May 2021 to P6.68 / kWh from June 2021. (or about P1.97 / kWh). With VAT, the tariff impact of the increase in production costs would be closer to P2.20 / kWh. This would be close to the figures mentioned in the complaint.
Another consumer told me about his experience repairing Carrier air conditioning units. The consumer stated that “although manufacturer-accredited service providers can be expected to cost more than non-accredited service providers, what is a reasonable premium for their service charges? What handling profit or premium are they allowed to add to the cost of the parts purchased? And can this handling premium be made transparent to the customer? In this way, note that the customer knows the source and the authenticity of the parts.
The consumer raised a good point by asking “Can Carrier and other appliance brands be encouraged to provide a more reasonable parts warranty on new and repaired units?” I remember that Carrier became the market leader in air conditioning in the 70s / 80s due to the long 10 year warranty on the compressors. By extending the warranty period on parts, the use of fake and substandard parts is discouraged. And the burden on the environment when disposing of these parts is directionally reduced. Can Carrier and other appliance brands be encouraged to offer better labor warranty, especially work performed by authorized service providers? In this way, our service technicians would be encouraged to be the best in their field. And many customer frustrations and increased blood pressure would also be avoided. Can Carrier Accredited Service Providers and other brands of home appliances be required to submit complete written quotes for maintenance or repairs to be performed, including schedule, especially unusual types? I believe the consumer has the right to review and judge the reasonableness of the quote.
Another Cebu consumer bought a faulty insulin pen and the pharmacy struggled to provide him with a replacement. I have advised the consumer that under the Consumer Law, the pharmacy should replace a defective item. In turn, the pharmacy can be reimbursed by its distributor or supplier.
In the context of these consumer complaints, my sources informed me that due to the volume, the complaint resolution deadline is at least thirty (30) days, while under the Citizen’s Charter, such complaints should be resolved in less than ten (10) days. Laban Konsyumer therefore calls on traders to quickly honor their obligations under consumer law.
(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., full member of Consumers International