Consumers warned over shoddy online services
Botswana commemorated the World Consumer Rights Day last week with a warning to consumers to beware of unscrupulous dealers in the technology industry who offer shoddy goods and services.
The Botswana Consumer Centre for Advocacy, Research and Orientation (BCCARO) used the commemorations day to offer free education to consumers at the Main Mall, Gaborone. This year is commemorations were held under the theme: “Building a better digital world consumers can trust.”
BCCARO secretary general, Marina Gobagoba, said this year’s theme was motivated by the fact that the world now lives in a technologically advanced era where almost everyone is buying and using the latest technologies.
“The objectives among others are to protect consumers against deceptive and unethical practises and the sale of shoddy goods and services,” said Gobagoba. BCCARO urges people to be smart consumers especially those who borrow money from micro lenders and avoid the debt trap caused by high interest rates that financial institutions charge.
“When intending to borrow money from financial institutions don’t just look at easy terms of being given the money but seriously consider the interest rate and other factors that could disadvantage you,” said BCCARO.
The organisation says some financial institutions offer easy and attractive borrowing terms but have very high interest rates and stern measures once a person default payment. In a statement the Consumer Watchdog also warned consumers to be careful of goods and services offered on the internet.
“Degrees from web sites that want money and demand no exams or coursework aren’t real degrees,” said the Watchdog. The organisation also urged people to take time before they buy goods and services online. “In short, be skeptical. Be a critical thinker. Question everything you hear and that someone seemingly impressive tells you. Don’t take anything at face value, and ask this question of anyone who wants you to join any scheme.
“How do you benefit from me joining?” said the Watchdog. Consumers International says the World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers, demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and a chance to protest the market abuses and social injustices which undermine those rights.