Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) consumer complaints in Francistown have blown the whistle on a popular depot, leading to its closure by Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS).
Customers say they often have to put up with a lack of customer service and after-sale service when complaining about half-filled gas cylinders.
Neo Mogomotsi of Block III location in Francistown said some gas retailers in Franciatown do not even have a proper policy to deal with issues of clients complaining about half-filled gas cylinders.
She is one of the many customers who were found at the temporarily closed Sun Gas Francistown branch recently following allegations that the distributor had not been filling its gas cylinders in accordance.
Mogomotsi complained that she had bought a 19kg gas cylinder but it got finished mysteriously after a short period of time.
“This is ridiculous and unprofessional. The supplier should just reimburse my money,” Mogomotsi said.
According to Mogomotsi, she used to take at least eight months with a 19kg cylinder.
But these days, the same 19kg cylinder hardly takes three months.
Moeletsi Mondela of Monarch location concurred with Mogomotsi.
To her, most people in her neighborhood have resorted to firewood.
“We cannot afford this life anymore. Gas is now expensive and does not last,” said Mondela.
For a long time, she has not been complaining. But this time around, she had no option.
Her 19kg gas cylinder only lasted her two months.“It took as a surprise.
And the suppliers should give me answers,” she said.
Mondela charged that Sun Gas has been fleecing customers hundreds of pulas for a long time and that it was time the distributor pays back.
Nelson Maripe said lack of consumer awareness has resulted in many consumers not seeking redress over the issue.
Maripe said there is need for the government to intensify its consumer awareness campaigns across the country.
A visit to Sun Gas branch in Francistown established that no business was being conducted following an alleged order by the Botswana Bureau of Standards officials.
However, an employee only identified as Motlalepula declined to give out details.
Documentary evidence in possession of Voice Money confirmed that Sun Gas has not been filling up its gas cylinders accordingly.
Some 48kg gas cylinders were weighing well below the standard. Upon weighing some of the 48kg gas cylinders, it showed that they were between 3kg and seven kilograms less that the expected weight of 48kg.
BOBS spokesperson Peter Mpete confirmed that his organization was handling the matter and that further details would be released after investigations are complete.
“Kindly note that we have indeed received customer complaint in relation to the subject matter and we are currently handling it. Until we effectively resolve the complaint, according to our procedures, we have nothing to report,” he said.