Asking a service provider what their goods or service are going to cost you should never be cause of embarrassment and you should never be in a hurry, says consumer journalist Wendy Knowler.
If you don’t ask them to give you a quote before they repair your watch or change your locks, legally they can’t charge you whatever they like.
While the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) requires service providers to supply a quote for their work before going ahead, they will most likely overcharge you or demand an upfront payment.
Knowler spoke to Aubrey Masango, standing in for Azania Mosaka, about the importance of asking for a price.
If you are too much in a panic to make sure you get a quote upfront, you are almost certain to get charged two or three times the price the service would go for normally.— Wendy Knowler, Correspondent - Consumer Talk
She also advises against googling the first service provider when in an emergency.
When you need a service provider in a hurry, doing the Google thing and going with the first “company” which comes up often does not end well. I’ve heard many tales of woe from people who’ve had similar experiences when needing a plumber in an emergency.— Wendy Knowler, Correspondent - Consumer Talk
Knowler says if you are dealing with a locksmith, legally, locksmiths have to be registered with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (Psira) as they render a security service.
It is said consumers should request that the locksmith produce proof of registration with Psira to confirm that they are registered with the regulator. They can check on the Psira website to verify if the locksmith is indeed registered on www.psira.co.za.
Even debt collectors, these people have to be registered with certain bodies. We have a right to say let's see your registration.— Wendy Knowler, Correspondent - Consumer Talk
Click on the link below to hear more from Knowler....