Consumerwatch: From beauty treatments to those pesky car fees

Consumerwatch: Buy now, cry later

Beauty treatments that don’t live up to their promises, and the latest on those notorious “on the road” fees - that’s what Wendy Knowler got stuck into in this week’s Consumerwatch.

Award-winning consumer journalist Wendy Knowler tackles the "refund" issue.
Main Image Courtesy of iStock

If you pay a “bargain” price up front for services to be supplied in the future, you’re putting all the power in the supplier’s hands if something goes wrong. And when it comes to beauty treatments, the “package” is a big seller.

READ MORE: Selling your car on consignment - what could go wrong?

You don’t just pay as you go with laser or other aesthetic treatments at the beauty spa - you’re sold a package of six treatments or more.

That’s all well and good if you get the results you’re promised, but if they don’t make the tiniest bit of difference, what recourse do you have?

You’d be entitled to a refund in terms of the Consumer Protection Act, but to have any chance of getting your money back, you’d have to be able to PROVE that you got no result. And if you don’t think to take before photos, how do you do that

READ MORE: Paying your utility bill at a supermarket? Best you check the numbers, says Wendy Knowler

What to do in the meantime? Take a listen….


Last week was supposed to bring some closure to the issue of the notorious “on the road” fees which dealerships routinely add to the deals as an extra - also known as a “delivery fee” or “dealership fee”.

It is seldom discussed or broken down for car buyers - it just gets added to agreements along with other extras such as metallic paint and licensing and registration costs.

Those who do question are told the figure covers pre-sale checks, washing, and “preparing” the car.

The National Credit Act prohibits the charging of any extra other than a tank of fuel, number plates, and licence and registration fees - including a “justifiable" fee to cover the dealership's staff sparing the buyer a long licensing queue.

READ MORE: Buying a bed? Don’t be caught napping, says Consumerwatch’s Wendy Knowler

And two years ago, the National Consumer Tribunal ruled that the National Credit Regulator was correct in finding that VW Financial Services (and by implication all other vehicle finance houses) was wrong to add the “on the road” fee to its contracts. And everyone got very excited when the ruling ordered the finance house to refund all that it had charged the “on the road” fee to, plus interest.

But it was not to be - VW Financial Services appealed that ruling, putting it on hold, and that appeal was due to be heard by the High Court in Pretoria last week.

Only it didn’t, because now the judge first has to consider BMW Financial Services’ application to “intervene” in the matter.

Contact Wendy

Get in touch with Wendy via her website or her Facebook page. Please note that Wendy is not able to personally respond to every email she receives. If she is able to take up your case, she will contact you directly. Here are other avenues for you to consider.

Listen to more podcasts from Wendy Knowler in the Consumerwatch channel below: 

Main Image Courtesy of iStock 

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