Nairobi’s Luthuli Avenue, this is the first name that comes to mind when you mention electronics, cheap electronics. It is a renowned one-stop centre for electronics. But just how safe is buying electronics here? Tales of people who bought electronics which malfunctioned the day after or branded contrabands fill the internet.
Just this weekend, talking about the holidays and the rate the economy is deteriorating, a friend narrates how they need help to go buy a smart TV in town. They don’t want to go alone because of a bad experience the week before so I ask for the full story. My friend tells me how they visited stalls inquiring about prices of the TV they wanted, all ranging at the same price, they then come upon a stall selling the same TV for a below average price, way below average that it is suspect.
This is suspicious, but maybe this lady selling the TV is ‘blonde’, she looks new to the job, she may have made the error. My friend decides to ask again but no error has been made, the TV is actually that price in this store, they decide to buy the TV, suspiciously they have not seen the product yet up to this point. Money paid, receipt written everything sorted, this is when matters get interesting, a man who apparently works here emerges, he explains how the TV they just bought does not work standalone, they have to dish out about half the price they bought the TV for ‘connectors’, they also have to pay monthly for the TV to work.
My friend does not have that kind of money, they ask for a refund. The man refuses to refund the cash, reason being a receipt was already written. The man now offers the only solution, my friend has to pick another TV that goes for the same price that doesn’t need connectors, these are readily available. My friend has had enough of this and decides to go file a complaint with the police at central police station. They are accompanied back to the stall and after a few “where’d you go, we were going to refund your money anyways” they have their money returned.
This is not a new trend, just a single search on popular forums will show you how many have suffered under the same circumstances, many stories on the internet however end up with customers taking home electronics that are offered as alternatives.
Before you buy any product, try to do some background check to find out more about its specifications, and the features that distinguish it from contraband. Most importantly, consult a friend or colleague who is familiar with the workings of a product you want to buy. When you venture out to Luthuli Avenue or any other electronics’ hub, make sure you know what you want, and also understand issues such as warranty and terms and conditions.
Alternatively, Tag a Tech-savvy friend along.
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