Friday 25 April 2014

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I bought five clothing items from someone through her Facebook page last June and I got all the five items that I had ordered. However one pair of shoes for P250 was the wrong size and colour so we agreed that I return it for exchange. I returned the shoes and requested items to the value of the shoe price. I communicated this with the seller and she promised that she will send the items, but she never did.

I sent her a series of emails asking about the items but she never responded, when she finally said a word it was after months and she claimed she has not received any email from me. I then requested her to give me back my P250, which she agreed and even asked me to give her my bank details. I gave her my banking details on the 5 March 2014 and up to now I have not received my refund from her. I sent her messages but she did not respond.

I asked people around about her whereabouts and someone told me she is in Botswana and gave me her number. I called her on the 11 April 2014 and she did not answer. I then sent her a message from a number she didn’t know, and pretended I was interested in some stuff she is selling and immediately she called. I told her who I was and that I need my money and she said she would pay on Monday 14 April 2014 but she didn’t. Please advise on how I can get this woman to pay me back my money. I have proof to all that I have written here. I have all the emails I exchanged with her since most of the agreements were done through email. I really hope that you will be able to assist.

Congratulations on your detective work! You got hold of this woman using a little bit of justified trickery. Good for you.

You don’t need me to tell you that this is one of the dangers of buying things from overseas, particularly from a small, unknown company. If, of course, it is actually a company and not just someone operating from their back room.

I contacted the person who appears still to be in Botswana and she promised me that she would sort things out, saying that “I will be able to send back her money by Friday. Am still held right now.”

Let me know if that happens? If not I’ll suggest the next steps you should take.

Update: Refund received!

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

I have a situation which I need you to help me out with. Last year I borrowed some money from a certain woman who operates as a loan 'shark'. The amount in total was P1,300. It took me a bit of time to repay her back due to circumstances and I defaulted for 4 months but I informed her my situation at the time. In the end I popped out P2,400 towards and she insists that I still owe her a balance of P400. Am I obliged to pay this amount? There were no formal written agreements involved and our agreements were of word of mouth. She is threatening to bring me before The Small Claims court.

Before you even think about whether you owe her this money you should first check with NBFIRA, the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority and see if she’s registered with them. Even informal “motshelo” schemes are covered by NBFIRA and you need their advice before anything else.

One other observation. Even if she does go to the Small Claims Court how can they give her a ruling if you never agreed anything in writing? Where is the proof that the loan ever actually existed? I suspect the Court would just show her the door. I also suspect she’s just threatening you.

Let NBFIRA advise you. They’re the experts.

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