Chen purchased a phone and later a lounge suite from a company which sells consumer goods via mobile shops and catalogues. Chen paid for his phone and lounge suite over time in instalments.
Chen complained to the company that they had not delivered the lounge suite. He wanted to cancel his contract and the company to refund all his payments (including those towards the phone which he had received).
The company explained that they had not delivered the lounge suite because Chen had not made consistent payments. The company credited the price of the lounge suite, but they did not agree to refund all of Chen’s payments. Instead, they offered to refund some of their fees.
Chen did not accept the company’s response and complained to FSCL. He believed the company were still charging him for the lounge suite.
The amount Chen had paid the company was in dispute. Chen believed he had made payments to the company which did not show on their account statement.
The company believed their refund offer was correctly calculated. They believed their account statement correctly reflected payments received and they had credited the lounge suite.
Chen also complained that the company had not lent responsibly to him when he purchased the phone and lounge suite. He had struggled to afford his repayments and they had caused him financial stress. Chen also believed that the company’s fees were unfair.
We reviewed the company’s account statement and Chen’s bank account statements. The cost of the lounge suite had been credited (so Chen was not paying for it) and the company was correct that all payments to them showed on their account statement. It appeared Chen was confused about how much he had paid the company because some of the payments to them on his bank account statements were dishonoured.
In the interests of resolving the complaint at an early stage, we persuaded the company to refund the difference between what Chen had paid them ($2,300) and the purchase price of the phone ($1,350). This effectively meant the company reimbursed all fees they had charged Chen ($950).
Chen accepted the offer in final settlement of his complaint.
Insights for participants
We often resolve complaints early in our process, without the need for a full investigation.
In this case, once we had established how much Chen had paid the company, we were able to facilitate an agreed outcome. Chen was happy with the amount of compensation, and it was in Chen’s and the company’s interests that the matter was resolved quickly.