Mountaineer has no freedom to roam

Anthony Dick couldn’t use the roaming feature on his device, thanks to an error by Vodacom.
A mountaineer, Mr Dick is overseas for 11 weeks.
He said despite “conscientious attempts” to have his Vodacom account activated for roaming, his cellphone is blocked from receiving and sending calls.
“It is a difficult situation as I need the phone as a safety device for my mountain climbing activities. My attempts to get assistance from Vodacom have been unsuccessful and they are making no attempt to help me. 
“How can I address this poor service?,” the Constantia resident asked.
“I have been using a Vodacom contract in Europe for the past 12 years. Initially it was on Roamon, but when the call charges were reduced from R25 to R5 a minute it was by ‘normal’ use. My phone didn’t work during a trip in February/March and again in May/June. After the first malfunction, Vodacom staff at the Constantia Centre advised me to call 082135 where they would arrange to activate my phone. 
“Despite a half hour of answering questions, I still can’t use it. I am in Europe until mid-August so it’s a crisis. I am a mountaineer and a working phone is essential in case I need assistance or rescue. 
“Can you remedy this situation urgently,” Mr Dick told Vodacom.
Instead of helping immediately, Vodacom’s care centre kept asking him for details that he couldn’t provide as they were at home, although he did give his bank account details and his wife, Judy’s number on Roamon, which should have been enough. Clearly it wasn’t for Vodacom.
“I feel that you are  not really trying to sort out my problem. I was assured before leaving South Africa that I would not have any problem using my contract, but now find that my phone has been blocked,” he said.
Vodacom’s care centre kept asking for the Vodacom and bank account numbers, among them, even though Mr Dick explained more than once they were back home. 
When another agent said they could not authenticate his details, Mr  Dick asked me to intervene. A day after I sent Vodacom the SOS, Mr Dick said: “My phone has been connected and I am grateful for your assistance. Thank you once again.”
Vodacom said international dialling was activated on Mr Dick’s line instead of international roaming (Vodafone roaming), which is why he was unable to make and receive calls while travelling. 
“We have rectified the issue and manually activated Vodafone roaming. Mr Dick sent an email confirming that he is able to access mobile services.”
Locked out

Colin Harding, marketing and special projects manager at IB McIntyre & Co in Maitland, which markets Mackie, Security Pro-Series brands and some international brands, threatened to sue me when I asked about a disclaimer on the packaging of a Mackie lock after I bought one.

The disclaimer read, “While this product will be replaced if defective in manufacturing, it is sold without express or implied warranty or liability of any other kind.”

When I queried this, Mr Harding replied, “Many thanks for your support, and input regarding the CPA (Consumer Protection Act) and what seems like an omission of country of origin. These issues are being addressed and will filter through to the market in due course. In an effort to better understand which product you are unhappy with, could you furnish me with the barcode, so that I can better assist you.”

I didn’t say I was unhappy with the product. But I sent the barcode to Mr Harding and he replied: “I think you may have missed a digit in the barcode you provided (the code is 6002297017444). As you have already previously stated the CPA dictates that an implied warranty of 12 months applies regardless of whether the manufacturer displays one or not, as a reputable company and an ISO 9001 registered company, we most certainly honour our advertised warranties and in terms of the CPA, which are in many if not most cases above market standards, and have been known to even honour warranties as far as 50 years down the line, even though we were not obliged to and this long before the CPA even existed, hence our brand loyalty and reputation.

“The product you are referring to is made of many materials and although not required by law to state these, it would be cumbersome to include them on the packaging. However if there is a material that concerns you, rather than being vague in your questioning and reference, let me know what it is, and I can educate you as to its use.

“As indicated, the essential part of the product you purchased is also covered by the SABSstandardsspecifically designed to protect the consumer amongst others against poor quality products and this mark is displayed as well. Should you experience any trouble with your purchase please be sure to contact us and we will make good on the warranty.

“In closing, you state that my comments are for publication, please be sure that they are quoted verbatim so as not to lose context, and to avoid unnecessary litigation, also please be sure to inform your publishers to contact me directly for my comment on your article to be published next to yours, their failure to grant us this will lead to litigation against them as well.”

When I asked for clarity, Mr Harding wrote, “I think this has been discussed quite enough and in simple enough English.”

“Their service excellence has become the benchmark of the hardware retail industry,” says their website. Perhaps Mr Harding should use that benchmark when he deals with the media.

Section 56 of the CPA states there is an implied six-month warranty (from date of purchase) on all goods.

Section 51 prevents suppliers from contracting out of the CPA, therefore no matter the product description, the goods are covered under the CPA.