Saturday, 11 April 2015

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Is this a scam?

[This is a plea for advice we received in real time on Facebook last week.]

Note: this isn't really the scammer, it's
a picture the scammers stole from a real
person in Brazil.
I have been communicating with someone named Luca Anders and he became my Facebook boyfriend. He said he is working in the UK and his contract is ending this month end. He took all his benefits from the company and he wants to come and settle with me in Botswana. He called me that he is coming with a flight which landed at Cape Town at 0930 this morning. Those that claim that they are at the airport called me asking if he is coming to me and I confirmed. Now they say he is carrying a lot of cash.

They say he should pay R10,000 for money laundering and now he says I should deposit the money and he’ll pay me back when he comes because they are now going to send him back and without that cash. Please check for me if its the truth. He says I should not tell many people coz he is carrying lots of money and he is fearing for his life. I’m in a fix. To deposit or not to or is this a scam?

Isn’t it obvious that this is a scam?

There are several clues. One was simple. If he’s flying from London to Gaborone why would he be flying via Cape Town and not Johannesburg? Also there’s this business about the R10,000 “for money laundering”. That’s just nonsense. And if it was true why didn’t they take the money from the cash he was apparently carrying? Why did they need a third party to send money to them?

And why is he carrying cash? Doesn’t he have a bank account and a debit card?

Above all, do rich men carrying vast amounts of money really fly to the opposite side of the planet to settle with someone they’ve never actually met in the flesh before?

Finally there’s the Facebook profile of this guy. It took me just a few moments to discover that the profile picture had been stolen from a guy living in Brazil. And didn’t the victim think it was odd that he had very friends on Facebook other than her and those others were also women he was flirting with?

Luckily this victim contacted us before she was persuaded to hand over any cash but that doesn’t mean her emotions haven’t been abused. The lesson is simple. You can’t trust total strangers that offer you riches. You knew that, didn’t you?

Can I get the right size? 

I bought a pair of shoes for my mother from a shoe shop in Rail Park Mall. The shoes were a size 5 and after fitting at home we realised that she needs a bigger size, a size 6 most probably. I returned the shoes back to the shop on Tuesday to have them exchanged for a bigger size or to get another pair if the size was not available. My request was not acceded to as the cashier claims that their system cannot process the exchange of items on sale.

What frustrates me is that such a condition was not communicated to me at the time of purchase. I even checked the till slip for any communication of such, it was blank. It is important for the information to be clearly communicated to customers, especially in my case where I was buying an item for somebody who was not available at the time to fit the shoes. I need your advice. Thank you in advance.

I think you should go back to the store and tell them that you've spoken to us and that our advice is that you have a right to be treated like any other customer. The fact that the item was on sale isn't relevant. Tell them that Section 17 (1) (d) of the Consumer Protection Regulations says it's an unfair business practice if a store causes "a probability of confusion or of misunderstanding as to the legal rights, obligations, or remedies of a party to a transaction". Also Section 17 (1) (f) forbids a store from "entering into a transaction in which the consumer waives or purports to waive a right, benefit or immunity provided by law, unless the waiver is clearly stated and the consumer has specifically consented to it".

Update: The reader went back to a different branch of the store, explained the situation and her understanding of the law and she was given the shoes she needed. Look what happens when you know your rights and you stand up for them!

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