“Warranty” fraud in stores
"I bought a mobile phone with a warranty from Irshad Electronics. After three months, there was a problem with the phone. I applied to Irshad Electronics. They received the phone and said that it will be repaired within 4-14 days or replaced by a new one. After 14 days, they call me and showing the disassembled phone, tell that the phone has suffered physical damage. After, they tell me to pay 120 manat to repair it. I has had a nervous breakdown during that conversation with Irshad Electronics employees,” journalist Natig Mukhtarli wrote in his profile on the social network
Speaking to Kaspi, Natig Mukhtarli said that if the phone was physically damaged, the store had to investigate and prove it with the client's participation. "But the store did not do it. They received the phone and informed the customer only after 14 days. How can the store now prove that their master did not cause physical damage to the phone? The store's approach to the issue is calculated to give up on the guarantee by all means,” he said.
Taking into account the relevance of the issue, we contacted the mentioned company. The company's customer service said that as described in the act presented to the customer, mechanical and physical damage to the device has been detected, the device has been deformed and distorted. And warranty commitments do not apply to the circumstances mentioned above.
Some consumers who commented on the above mentioned statement of the journalist on the social network also pointed to similar issues. Many even claim that such cases have increased after the application of "gold warranty" in stores. In other words, stores resort to such frauds to make the client pay for the "gold warranty" fee. Recently, such complaints have increased significantly. Consumers have the same problems not only with Irshad Electronics, but also with other stores.
But how can a citizen facing such problems protect his rights and what steps should he take?
Chairman of the Azerbaijan Free Consumers Union, Eyyub Huseynov, said that they receive such complaints over the past four years. "It's been almost four years that these frauds are used to avoid paying the money for counterfeit and poor quality phones back to the buyer. These complaints are about the product of many phone stores that are currently operating in our country. Unfortunately, whenever there is a problem with the phone, the consumer does not have any information about his phone’s future after he gives it to the store service. That is, the consumer is unaware of how his phone is checked. Therefore, we advise consumers to require that their phones are checked in their presence. If necessary, consumers should address the State Service for Antimonopoly Policy and Consumer Rights' Protection of the Ministry of Economy, which will appoint an expert,” Huseynov noted.
According to Khayal Bashirov, a member of the Bar Association, consumer rights were violated in this case. "The consumer's rights were first violated when the phone was opened without his presence in the service. Buyers have no knowledge in this area, so they can prove that the problem is caused by them or the store. In any case, if there is such a problem, the store cannot only present an act, but prove that the problem is due to the customer. There were a lot of such cases. Stores do not respond immediately to such cases as there must be citizen participation to express an opinion immediately. They say they will respond within 4-14 days. If they respond after 14 days, I believe that consumer rights are violated here. In such cases, we advise consumers to apply to the State Service for Antimonopoly Policy and Consumer Rights' Protection of the Ministry of Economy. If it does not give results, then they should apply to the court. The court will decide to investigate the issue. Then, an expert must be involved in the investigation," he said.
Bashirov noted that, in addition to material damage, the consumer may appeal to the court due to moral damage. "Because in any case, the citizen loses time. At the same time, he could complain that the store sold him a poor quality phone, which, in fact, caused him moral damage. In such a case, the court may at least decide to ensure material and moral damage to the consumer," he added.