Saturday, 23 May 2015

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can I get a settlement?

Please help me here. I want a loan from this other Bank. Let's call it Bank B. But I still owe another Bank. I went to this Bank I owe and asked for settlement but they say I must first write a letter that I want to settle the loan and wait for 2 days before I can get the settlement amount. Is that really necessary or am just being punished? Surprisingly they r the only bank with such demands.

I don’t think the bank are “punishing” you, they’re probably just taking their sweet time calculating how much money you owe them. Maybe they’re not very good at maths?

Remember why banks lend people money. They certainly don’t do it because they’re generous and kind. They do it so they can make money from you in interest. If you decide to pay off the debt early they will potentially lose some of that interest so they calculate an amount somewhere between the amount you borrowed and the total amount they anticipated earning from you if you’d paid over the agreed time.

I think you should check the terms and condition of the loan agreement to see what it says about early settlement. You should of course have read this BEFORE you signed it and accepted the money but you should also do it now so you know what you agreed.

I’m not sure why the need you to write them a letter at this stage but I suppose if that’s what it says in the agreement then that’s what you should do. It seems a little old-fashioned but, well, some banks ARE old-fashioned.

When you get the settlement amount you need to sit down with a calculator to make sure they’ve given you a reasonable value. And you should also look very carefully at the loan agreement from the new bank so you don’t get into trouble with them later.

Does a discount nullify a warranty?

Last week I went purchase some office chairs. I was helped by one of the staff and we selected three chairs to purchase. I asked the lady helping me if she could call one of the floor who had helped me on my previous visit to see about discounts.

He came across and offered a P600 discount on a total purchase of P4000 so it would have been P3400 for the 3 chairs. We agreed and as we were walking to make the payment, I was very taken aback when he said that I should know I'm forfeiting the warranty on the products. I told him that was not my understanding at all and that a discount was a discount and to my knowledge it didn't assume the loss of warranty! He said I should meet him halfway and I simply walked out the store! I was really not impressed by the manner in which he conducted the deal and I was sorry for the time I ended up wasting in the store! Subsequently, I bought three chairs elsewhere with a discount and a 1 year warranty for each product!

Could you just clarify for me that offering a discount doesn't necessarily mean you lose the warranty? And if it does come at the cost of the warranty, then the merchant should inform you of that from the start of negotiations not at the end when you are about to make payment?

You are now officially my favorite consumer. You did exactly the right thing when you walked out of that store. I wish more people would do that when they’re told something as silly as this. Any company that makes that sort of claim doesn’t deserve our money.

You are also correct about the warranty. The Consumer Protection Regulations make it very clear that a store can only disclaim a warranty if you specifically agree to that and they are not allowed to cause even a probability of confusion about your legal rights. The only way they can say the warranty doesn’t apply to you is if you signed a document agreeing to that. Otherwise the warranty stays.

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