With our busy schedules and activities, we sometimes take for granted our rights as a consumer to assert what is due to us. We don’t want to be hassle by procedural process of filing a complaint as it will take too much of our precious time. But I guess it’s about time that we become conscious of our rights. I would like to share my experience with one of the most prominent shoe repair service store in the Philippines.
I brought my designer shoes in this prominent store a year ago to have my two pairs of shoes cleaned and repaired. This store boasts their par excellence service in handling shoes that is why I entrust my precious shoes with them. Anyways, as I got my shoes I am very much satisfied on how they turn my shoes like a brand-new one. They were so clean and neat. Then my problem start when I saw the other pair. My CHANEL Sandals were ruined! OMG! My one and only CHANEL! At first I cannot believed how it happen, I’m only asking for a change of rubber sole on the tip of its heel. Instead, they scrape the metal plating of the heel which resulted to the fading of the metal and the Chanel logo. I demand for a redo of the shoes but after a week the appearance got worst. They brushed the heel with golden paint and the logo was painted black. To give you a brief description of the original look, the heel was made out of wood and metal plating with a Chanel logo done in gold anodized paint.
So to cut the story short I wrote the owner and demand for a replacement for my sandals with the same style or cash settlement for the damaged sandals. The company owner meet me to discuss the matter on hand. My first impression of the owner is that he is a very sincere man and professional person. He even bring his son with him during the meeting. We discussed what had happen to the sandals and we reach an agreeable settlement. We finished the meeting in a very cordial manner. After a week of waiting, I did not hear anything anymore from the owner. So I wrote him a final demand letter informing our agreement but still he refused to settle. Sometimes we got to be deceived by looks. Given the personality and the reputation he’s holding it is never a guarantee that a person is sincere and will commit to his word. That is a lesson learned.
Going back to it, I have this feeling that the reason why the owner meet me was to size me up if I am worth the settlement. Well, even I am just a “common tao” it does not mean I am ignorant of my right as a consumer. So I decided to pursue this matter to court. I do my research and stumble on to this law “The Consumer Act of the Philippines” (http://www.chanrobles.com/republicactno7394.htm). Under Chapter 5 – Liability For Product and Services, Articles 99-100 it states that … a service supplier is liable for the damages it caused to the consumers by defects relating to the rendering of the services. So it is very important for us consumer to keep our receipts because this is one of the requisite in lodging a complaint. I filed a case in the Small Claim Court wherein this kind of cases are entertained. You don’t need the services of a lawyer in order to file it. The following are the procedure in filing a small claim case;
a. go to your nearest MTC or RTC court
b. ask the clerk of court the form in filing a small claim
c. prepare an affidavit stating all the facts of the case; attached the receipt of the service provided; if possible picture of the damaged item; the letter of complaint in e-mail or any written form (this will hold as evidence in court)
d. pay for the filing fee (this will depend on how much damages are you claiming)
e. wait for the case to be raffle in its appropriate sala
People have this misconception that it is too costly to file a case. It may be time-consuming but it is not costly. You don’t need the services of a lawyer to prepare and appear in a court hearing. In a Small Claim Court, the judge do not allow the appearance of a lawyer. It is only the parties involved in the case that will appear in the judges’ sala. The judge will hear both side and if possible to reach a settlement for both parties. If settlement is not possible, as in my case, the judge render its decision on the same day of the hearing. I won the case and was awarded the damages due to me.
I hope one way or the other my experience can help others in knowing and asserting their rights as a consumer. We all work hard to buy what we need and with that in return we need to get the highest quality of things/services we deserve.