Online PC shop nailed by the ombudsman as website disappears
The Consumer Goods and Services Ombud (CGSO) has warned consumers to exercise caution when transacting with PC Link Computer following a substantial increase in consumer complaints.
The company’s websites – pclinkshop.co.za and pclinkshop.com – have also disappeared.
In the period from April 1, 2021 to April 29, 2022, the online retailer of PC hardware and accessories collected 215 consumer complaints at the Ombud.
According to the Ombudsman, there are currently 134 open cases against PC Link Computers.
“Due to PC Link’s lack of cooperation in resolving the complaints reported to them, the CGSO was forced to close these cases and report them to the National Consumer Commission for possible investigation and enforcement.”
He added that despite the actions taken by the CGSO, harmed consumers are still required to submit their complaints to the National Consumer Commission (NCC).
The CGSO said it is clear that PC Link is using bait marketing where it advertises goods as available, with no intention of delivering ordered goods.
“When the CGSO office began handling complaints against this supplier, it responded directly to the complainants, providing them with refunds and delivering the pending goods,” he said.
“However, for reasons unknown, PC Link has since stopped cooperating with our office on open cases, hence issuing the notice.”
Consumer and Services Industry Ombudsman Maguata Mphahlele said PC Link is potentially in violation of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA)
“Taking money from consumers and therefore not delivering the goods and services at the agreed date and time is a possible violation of sections 19 and 41 of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and the CGSO cannot stand by and allow dishonest online suppliers to steal the hard-earned money of consumers, “he said.
Section 19 of the CPA states that suppliers are responsible for delivering goods or services at the agreed date and time or otherwise within a reasonable time after the conclusion of a transaction or agreement.
MyBroadband spoke to a PC Link rep last year after several people wrote to complain that the company had taken their money and not delivered their goods.
Customers also complained that refunds had been promised that did not materialize.
A rep at the time told us that the complaints against them come mostly from customers who don’t realize there was a difference between PC Link’s .co.za and .com stores.
The .co.za store offered locally sourced items that distributors indicated were available in their South African warehouses.
On the other hand, PC Link’s .com site offered import services affected by global supply chain disruptions.
“Unfortunately, I have come across a large amount of customers who place an order from the import website but they email me with the delivery times of the local websites,” the pclinkshop.co representative told MyBroadband. .za.
They claimed that PC Link has been around for more than 10 years and that accredited payment gateways wouldn’t do business with a company that isn’t legit.
In the cases investigated by MyBroadband, PC Link eventually issued refunds, albeit much later than promised.
MyBroadband contacted PC Link Computers regarding the Ombudsman’s notice and its websites that were offline, but had not responded by the time of publication.