Two complaints about Computer Mania landed in my mailbox.
Michelle Marqua said that her mother, a pensioner, bought a R10 399 laptop for her grandson’s 17th birthday from the Tyger Valley branch of Computer Mania, at Willowbridge.
“The laptop was not the same model that was reflected on the tax invoice nor was it the brand we had ordered from Computer Mania, as my son found after it was given to him when he came home from boarding school two weeks later,” Ms Marqua said.
She spoke to Jacques at Computer Mania who told her she should talk to the owner. When she took the laptop back, the owner, Craig Sanger, inspected it “and pointed out that there was a small mark on the bottom, and, after wiping it, said it shouldn’t be a problem and they would send it back to the supplier”.
“Mr Sanger agreed to give us a credit note for R10 399 and when my son came home from boarding school we took him to the store to choose the laptop he wanted. The salesman, who was expecting us, gave us a quote for another laptop but for much more than the credit note. My son and the salesman discussed how they can bring down the amount to match that on the credit note, which had not yet been processed,” the Bellville woman said.
When the salesman phoned Mr Sanger to discuss the problem, he told him there was a scratch on the laptop and they would have to deduct 25 percent off the purchase price and Ms Marqua would also have to pay an 18 percent handling fee.
“There is nothing on the credit note about a handling fee, and the salesman was told to give us back R8 320, even though the credit note was for R10 399. We were not informed that there would be a deduction for the ‘scratch’ or that there would be a handling fee.
“I find this unacceptable. Computer Mania should give the full amount back to my mother,” Ms Marqua said.
Charl Adams, spokesperson for Computer Mania, said he had reviewed the case and had agreed to refund the full amount to Ms Marqua and it would “come with an apology as well”.
“It seems that an innocent spec mistake just spiralled out of control,” Mr Adams said.
Eric Ndizeye, of Parklands, bought a Mecer tablet for R1 999 at Computer Mania, West Coast Village Shopping Centre. However, his tale of woe didn’t have a happy ending.
“The tablet had a one-year warranty, but two months after I bought it, it kept switching off until I couldn’t switch it on again. I took it back to be repaired under warranty. When they looked at it, they said they couldn’t see any physical damage, but they would send it away to be sure. I then received a message to say that the unit would cost R1 650 to repair. I didn’t respond, and instead I went to the store where they told me I had to give them permission to repair it. Which I did,” said Mr Ndizeye, “and they told me they would call me when it was ready.”
They didn’t, and when Mr Ndizeye went back to the store, the tablet was there but he had to pay the repair bill. “I bought a tablet under warranty, now I must pay again for a tablet that is less than six months old. Really? Please help me to get my tablet back or a refund.”
Mr Adams confirmed that the tablet was booked in with the fault description “does not turn on”.
“The tablet was sent to our technical centre in its original packaging where, on inspection, a dent was discovered, and it was sent for assessment to Mustek, who handles the Mecer repair and warranties.
“The unit had to be opened and this is when the technician discovered that the charging port had been torn from the circuit tracks. This was the reason for the tablet not charging and therefore not turning on. The charging port being broken is not related to any other damage on the tablet, but was caused by direct force on the port itself. It is very difficult to spot this without opening the tablet. The mainboard had to be replaced to fix this problem,” Mr Adams said. “We quoted the customer via SMS to which he replied accepting the quote. Unfortunately, physical damage happens around us all the time, unintentionally or by a family member.
“Stepping on a charging cord while there is weight on the tablet is but one example of how this could have happened. Physical damage is not covered by manufacturer warranty, and, due to the nature of the damage, a complete replacement mainboard is required, as the charge port cannot be removed or replaced from the board as the solder tracks connecting the charge port contact points had been torn from the board,” Mr Adams said.
Mr Ndizeye accepted the explanation.