If you ask me, we, as consumers who have to pay a price for what we are offered, are not protected at all. Although we have the recently implemented Consumer Protection Act, the provisions therein to protect the consumers are not policed at all. Therefore, in my opinion, the Consumer Protection Act becomes window-dressing. And I will tell you why.
Recently, I invited a group of friend for a weekend away to Dikhololo – a well-known resort in Brits who advertised their resort as safe and with 24 hour security. In our experience, it all but a peaceful and secure Bushveld breakaway as it is advertised on their webpage.
While at the swimming pool during the day, our chalet had a break-in and we were robbed of almost everything that was in the chalet. The resort security responded to the incident but did not even take photos of the point of entry to the chalet. However, the Security department was the department who handled this incident the best! To date, we have not received any apology from the resort for the traumatic experience and the losses incurred.
As a paying patron to a resort, one would think that they would at least replace the window where the break-in occurred. You are after all paying for the 24 hour security and safe, peaceful Bushveld breakaway as they falsely advertise on their webpage. Their solution to secure the unit, was to tape a cardboard box to the window frame.
When we went to reception the next morning to notify the resort that the security of the unit is compromised and we will be checking out earlier as planned, there was no objection from the resort. Neither did they try to accommodate us in another unit, nor did we get any trauma counselling after the event that occurred for their lack of keeping patrons safe. We were however reminded that we signed a very mighty disclaimer when we checked in and they cannot be held liable for any losses. This disclaimer was an interesting document itself. Firstly, the terms and conditions are printed on the reverse side of the signature block. Secondly, no one explained the contents of the document. But most importantly, the document said not to leave your belongings unattended. Neither the receptionist of the Financial Manager whom reluctantly answered my call on the Monday, could understand that items safely locked up n ones chalet, is not left unattended.
Further to the horrific experience and the resorts lack of handling it properly, one also has to acknowledge the loss or property. In this instance, dear consumers, you are not protected at all. Dear fellow Consumer, please take this as a warning. After we insisted to get in touch with the resort’s insurers, we followed the process of writing the appropriate letters, submitting quotations for the lost property and was under the impression that we would be compensated, even if not in full, for the lost possessions. However, the insurer notified us that the resort does not feel they are responsible for our loss, therefore, the claim cannot be processed.
I’ve asked myself, shortly after this incident, what did we pay for, and if we got what we expected and what the supplier promised on platforms like their website and other advertising mechanisms. (again questioning the Consumer Protection Act and its empty promises). I’ve given the resort more than ample opportunity to proof my wrong about their false marketing. Although the measures that the government and resort itself put in place to protect me as a consumer failed horribly, I will now take it upon myself to warn consumers about the lies of suppliers and the lack of consumer support. After all, word of mouth is seen as the most effective marketing mechanism….
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