More power to the consumer is our motto, whether buying rajma or a watch. Pushpa Girimaji tells you how to get empowered.
As we come closer to the festival of lights, we see a number of orgnisations holding ‘exhibitions’ — a generic term for a temporary shopping location, displaying and selling a wide variety of goods. Perhaps the most popular of these are the ‘saree exhibitions’.
These are extremely popular because in one location you get to see a diverse range from different parts of the country and many of them offer exquisitely designed sarees woven by master craftsmen and women. However, there is one obvious disadvantage while shopping at these places and the question from a reader this week is all about it.
But before I go to that, here are a few things to remember while shopping at exhibitions. (a) Since these are temporary shops, it will become difficult to exchange goods bought once the exhibition is over. So avoid going on the last day; (b) Always collect the receipt and keep it safe. See if the receipt has the contact details of the seller. Also find out how they will redress complaints, if any; (c) Similarly, get the contact details of the organisers too; and (d) Check the goods — preferably in daylight — before buying.
Rekha Rawat: Recently, at an exhibition organised for women entrepreneurs in Mumbai, I bought a designer cotton saree for Rs 14,000. However, when I saw the saree in the morning night, I noticed that the lining underneath the exquisite embroidery of the Pallu is torn at many places and it shows up very badly. This was a boutique from Chennai which had a stall at the exhibition and when I called them at Chennai, the owner first denied that there could ever be a defect in her goods. When I insisted, she asked me to courier the saree and she would take a view only after seeing it. What do I do?
Answer: First and foremost, contact the organisation which held the exhibition, take the saree to them and show the defect. Tell them that they also have a responsibility in respect of the goods sold and get them to write a letter to the boutique owner stating that they have examined the saree and found it to be defective and that they would recommend that you be given an identical saree in lieu of this or else your money.
Get them to give the description of the saree and also the details on the tag attached to it, which you say carries the name and contact details of the seller, besides the price. Keep a copy of this. Get them to mediate on your behalf. After all, their reputation is involved here. If the shop owner wants you to courier the saree, she will have to pay courier charges, including the cost of fully insuring it. Or else, the organisers of the exhibition can pay for it and recover it from the shop owner.
However, before couriering the saree, take a picture of it, showing the damage and also the tag. Since you do not have a receipt, the tag is an extremely important piece of evidence. So make sure that the tag is clearly visible in the pictures. If you know someone in Chennai, I would suggest that you send the saree to this person and ask her/him to take it to the boutique for an exchange or a refund.
If you are sending it directly, send it through a reliable courier and keep the receipt of the shopkeeper having received it, safe. Keep the organisers also in the loop. Chennai has some good consumer groups and you can also write to them and seek their help. If the shop owner is not reasonable, you will have to go to the consumer court.