Saturday, 14 December 2013

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I'm interested in buying a smartphone overseas/online. A couple of weeks ago I met a lady by the name Latifat Mubaibh via Facebook. She was marketing the products of the company she is representing. The thing is I don’t know if she's genuine or its a scam but the products prices are good e.g. Blackberry 9320 for $130, Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini for $300 (all of them include shipping costs).

I asked for the company website and she said its under construction for the Xmas season which worries me if she is really genuine. She also said they a have branch in USA, UK and West Africa. She said I could reach their Second Office in United States at 314 East Maple Street, Wisconsin, Webster 54893, United States. Here's her email address and contact number which I had asked for contact number +447053851837. She also sent me assurance certificate of their company that I'm guaranteed the goods will arrive at my door step (please find the attached document).

Help me please.

I think you know that this is a scam, don’t you?

The clues are fairly obvious if you look closely. Your question about their web site was a wise one. It’s safe to assume that any electronics company that hasn’t spent some time establishing a web site is suspicious. You have to ask yourself why they wouldn’t? Their excuse about it being “under construction for the Xmas season” is just silly.

Then there’s the address in the USA. It doesn’t exist. I checked. And then there’s the cellphone number. Why would a company claiming to have offices everywhere just use a UK cellphone number?

Yet another clue is the ridiculous letter you received which includes phrases such as “we are here to guarantee you that your order will be deliver to you at your doorstep as you comply with our terms of shipment” and “be inform that this delivery guarantee is been approved by the appropriate law enforcement agency” and which says they have been “approved by the Metropolitan Police” in London. That’s just nonsense. I think the London Police have better things to do than “approve” people selling cellphones on Facebook, don’t you?

Clearly these guys are smart, they give prices that are almost plausible and seem like bargains, but rest assured that they don’t actually sell phones, they’re just a bunch of crooks trying to steal your money.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

Guys I want your advice on something. A store had blacklisted me due to some payments I was owing them. Now the problem is that they had handed the account to debt collectors but what surprises me is that each and every month they send me accrued balances, so I wonder if when they hand you to ITC, they hand the liability balance as finally closed?

I’m afraid that’s not how debt works.

Every store credit agreement we’ve ever seen includes a clause saying that if you fall behind with your payments the store will be entitled to accrue interest on the outstanding amount until it’s all repaid, even as you’re repaying it. It’s yet another way in which buying things on store credit can be the worst financial decision you’ll ever take. It’s also a way in which stores can avoid the “in duplum” rule which says the interest charged cannot exceed the amount outstanding but ONLY If you settle the debt in one go. If the repayment stretches over months or years the amount you repay can be enormous.

I suggest that you get in touch with the debt collectors and ask for a full statement of the debt and discuss with them what you can afford to repay. All decent debt collectors (yes, such creatures do exist) will do this. After all it’s in their interest as well as yours to give you a fair chance to repay them. They really don’t want to take you to court to get their money, it’s time-consuming, hard work they want to avoid.

Do this as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more they’ll add to your debt and the longer it will take you to repay it and clear your credit record.

Let me know how it goes.

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