Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I ordered some clothes to be made from a dressmaker and paid a deposit on the 15th March. The agreement was I will collect my skirt and blouse end of March and pay the remaining balance then. He failed to deliver on time and we agreed that I would give him an extension. He kept making promises and still failed, while I keep going to his place spending my resources (time and fuel). I gave up and proposed to him that he refund me my money, a suggestion he refused. I would call him, he would ignore my calls.

On 2nd May I went to his place demanding to at least see the material he is working on, only to realise the material has not been bought. I insisted that I would not go anywhere until he started cutting the material. He immediately sent his Receptionist to go and buy the material and I waited and watched as he cut the material for the skirt. We agreed that I come for the clothes on the 2nd May. I decided not to go and rather planned to go on the 3rd. His Receptionist called me earlier in the day and told me not to come. I asked to speak to her boss at least be given a date of when to come for my stuff but he refused to talk to me. He has not communicated up to this day.

I feel I cannot keep going to his place and not getting any service. Thus I’m contacting you to assist me.

You’ve been patient enough. Clearly this guy can’t be trusted and I think it’s time to walk away. I suggest you write him a letter saying that you are cancelling the order because of his failure to keep his side of the bargain. Make it perfectly clear that you no longer want him to make the clothes at all. Then tell him that unless he gives you a full refund of your deposit within 3 days you’ll be going to the Small Claims Court for an order against him.

And then tell everyone you know not to use his “services” because he can’t be trusted.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

Do banks have authority to take money from one’s acc without their authorization?

Five to seven years ago I bought a car from a dealer with a loan from my bank. The car was never in good condition and as such I returned the car to them after having consulted the bank. They agreed that the dealer was not honest with me from the onset so they asked him to fix the car which he refused and they took the car and I am told they sold it.

Last week I realised that they took money from my personal account saying that they sold the car and there was a shortfall which I have to pay so I just wanted to know if this is legal?

Yes. They can.

In fact the bank can do pretty much anything they like with your money, definitely if you owe them more than they owe you.

If you take a look at the agreement you signed with your bank all those years ago you’ll find a section that says that if you owe them money in one account and you have money in another account they can, if you cause them any trouble, move money from the account with the positive balance to the one with the negative balance. Causing them trouble can include things like being late with payments, taking longer to repay a debt than agreed or if they don’t like your new hairstyle. Ok, maybe not that last bit but there probably a clause with allows them to do it for whatever reason they can think of.

In your case I guess that the resale value of the car was less than the amount you owed them so they were entitled to move your money around. However, they should at least have had the decency to tell you about this beforehand. They should also have given you the opportunity to agree a plan that wouldn’t ruin your finances.


Olebeng from Belshane Properties for his “always rapid and efficient service”.

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