Ok, time for some real talk. I’m sorry it took some time; you all know I love to do my adequate research and educate myself before trying to give any opinion that could positively or negatively impact a vendor’s business. I also had to speak to the parties involved and I was able to speak to some of the parties involved and hear what the true story is from the parties involved directly.
I have come to the conclusion that we need CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT in Nigeria & yes, I searched and searched and the closest act I could find is CONSUMER PROTECTION COUNCIL ACT.
As promised, here’s my feedback. I will not bash anyone in this feedback as I only give feed backs in a professional manner & I hope that all parties involved think about my suggestions carefully and put it into use. Everything I’m about to say is MY OPINION & I stand by it. Please feel free to state your opinions as well but if you are disrespectful in doing that; I will delete your comments instantly; I think I’m one of the nicest, sweetest, most humble human on earth but I have NO chill when it comes to people being disrespectful & I have zero tolerance for cyber bullying, don’t try it/don’t play yourself.
The dress that was provided to the bride does not depict @topefnr’s talent & honestly, that outfit should never be worn as an outfit change for an occasion that could only happen once in a lifetime. I’m sorry that the bride(Mrs. J) had to go through what she went through. Now I don’t think the mistake of the dress not being up to par caused the call out brohaha or led to the escalation, it’s the way @topefnr dealt with the situation. Vendors, please learn from this.
Now based on CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT in a part of the world that I was brought up as a teenager and lived for over a decade, was/is a consumer, done business in and went to high school and university in; what happened could be known as MISREPRESENTATION which is stating that the product is a certain grade, style, model, or quality when it isn’t or promising to deliver a service or product when they know or should know that it’s not possible or recommending unnecessary repairs or replacements to items & the consequences is stated under DELIVERY OF GOODS which is that you can’t be charged for receiving an item or service that you did not request(well the bride requested for a dress, definitely not the one that was provided) and she could have still used the item or throw it away and be entitled to a refund.
Based on Nigeria’s CONSUMER PROTECTION COUNCIL ACT, the act is meant to provide speedy redress to consumers complaints through negotiations, mediation and conciliations and encourage trade, industry and professional associations to develop and enforce in their various fields quality standards designed to safeguard the interest of consumers, now this act does not talk about refund.
What CONSUMERS should do moving forward
- Ask for a written agreement & sign one that has clauses protecting you in it. (I have a sample agreement I drafted for a client and vendor recently; whether you are a vendor or client, email me if you need a sample)
- Do NOT pay in full until you see your product (you pay for a product in the developed countries but remember the businesses over there have insurance to cover errors and refund clients)
- Ask to see your product weeks before your event (This helps you to get adjustments done or get another product)
- If you are conducting a huge transaction, involve your attorney (I did that when purchasing a store in a plaza in Lagos, Nigeria recently but that didn’t stop the investors from being unprofessional but guess what, I know for sure, I won’t loose millions of Naira if the worst happens)
- Choose and stick to what you really want – be it outfit style, fabric, type of makeover (You can take suggestions from your vendor but don’t alter the style or service you really want because of a vendor’s opinion, it’s your day not the vendor’s
- Please DO NOT, again DO NOT use vendors based on Instagram fame, social media is great but word of mouth referrals and reviews will never go out of style (There are MUAs that have turned to photographers & edit pictures to the extreme, phone pictures are still the best. There are food vendors that the food looks so great on social media but taste the food & you will question every food the vendor has posted on social media and some vendors I know and I’ve heard their stories, hmm Lord take the wheel)
- Do NOT judge based on a vendor posting scriptures or portraying religious belief on social media(the trending habit now is to use Christianity/Islam to sell your products and service and portraying Christianity or Islam on social media doesn’t mean true Christianity or Islam) – Please don’t try to come for me based on this statement, I was a Muslim & did Wolimat graduation, Now, I am a christian who is a strong believer so I know both religion really well so let’s not.
- Lastly, Do NOT be afraid to fight for what is right, you either help yourself and get your money back or you help other clients to avoid falling victim.
What VENDORS should do moving forward
- Please take a customer service excellence course (It’s very important for the growth of your business)
- Not all clients that wants your service should get it (If you can’t provide a product or service, acknowledge that and be honest with the client; not all the clients that comes to you are your clients, sometimes the money is not worth it)
- Vendors, Please be fair in your pricing (feel free to charge your worth but be fair while you do that)
- Always provide written agreement that should have signatures of you and your client and this agreement should protect both you an your client. I have a sample agreement that I drafted for a client and vendor recently; whether you are a vendor or client, email me if you need a sample)
- Provide a client with his/her products weeks before his/her event and only offer express service if you are sure you can deliver
- Three important professionals you need as a vendor; a LAWYER, an ACCOUNTANT and a PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER (Distinct vendors offer public relations services for entertainers and vendors, feel free to contact us)
- Learn to apologize when you are wrong ( Sorry never killed/hurt anybody and pride should never be exhibited to your clients; you are already humble enough by providing services your community, keep the humility going)
- Conduct yourself well to the general public, be professional (Do NOT address a client’s hurt by posting a rebut message on social media, that won’t make the situation any better)
- Treat all clients in a fair manner (Don’t treat celebrities and wealthy clients better than you treat the average ones)
- Do NOT, I repeat, Do NOT give out confidential information about your clients on or off social media (We don’t need to know that your client is pregnant, if she couldn’t afford to pay full rate, her financial information – a vendor once offered makeover services to Mike Adenuga’s daughter and all she talked about in her post about her was how massive their house is and even mentioned whose daughter she was, please think of your client’s security)
- Have a very intelligent & a fair family member or a friend you continually seek advice from for the growth of your business (I have a lot of vendors that seek my advice on a lot of things and I respect them for it, it’s humility & nobility in it’s true sense)
- Do DAMAGE CONTROL, always (I understand that insurance companies for vendors are not popular yet so offering refunds to unsatisfied clients might be hard but when you are wrong, you are wrong; please refund the client at least 75% to avoid any negative attention to your business; clients don’t have anything to loose, you have everything to loose as a vendor)
- Lastly, have the fear of God truly (don’t just post scriptures on social media and your behaviour does not depict christianity or islam)
Now my final thoughts; I’m not happy with how this played out, this matter didn’t have to lead to a call out on social media by the bride’s friends or waste of people’s time (yes I could be doing something else with my time). Simple apology, show of empathy towards the fact that the bride could not even change on her wedding day and damage control in a form of refund will do. I rest my case
The photo in this post was culled from linda ikeji