Friday 8 May 2015

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Is this institution real?

Please confirm if the Institution below exists: Northern Ireland Institute of Business and Technology (British). I received one application, which the candidate has qualified from that Institution. It was my first time to see such certificate thats why I contacted consumer watchdog.

The so-called Northern Ireland Institute of Business and Technology (British) never really existed other than being a web site that sold fake qualifications.

Despite it’s name this place had nothing to do with Northern Ireland and wasn’t British. They had no permanent presence anywhere in the UK and they weren’t a registered company there either. None of the "academic staff" they claimed to employ really existed and they claimed to have been accredited by an accreditation body that nobody recognized. In fact they operated from Malaysia, not the UK.

We first exposed this bogus establishment in 2009 and they weren’t happy at all when we told people the truth about them. Over the next few years they threatened us with legal action and even said they’d reported me to the FBI and Interpol (ignoring that fact that neither of these bodies has any jurisdiction over them or me). Needless to say we ignored their silly threats.

Their last email to me in 2011 included this threat:
“Our claim for damage on slandering and defaming on Northern Ireland Institute of Business and Technology (British) and its agent is going to be USD6 millions. You are urged to treat this matter as serious and removing all slanderous and defamation articles on NIIBT, unlawfully using the NIIBT logo, unlawfully interference of the internal affairs of NIIBT and its agent in your blogs, etc from the internet and wikipedia instantly.”
Guess what happened? Nothing. They couldn’t take action against us because all we’d done was reveal to the internet the truth: that they were a bogus establishment selling bogus qualifications.

The good news is that they appear not to exist any longer. Their web site has disappeared and I guess people aren’t buying their fake qualifications any more.

I salute you for taking the time to check your candidate’s qualifications and for being skeptical about their claims. More employers should check these things to avoid being defrauded by people claiming to have qualifications that aren’t real.

Finally I need to warn anyone who is considering buying a qualification from any establishment like this one. If you buy a degree from a fake establishment you are as criminal as they are. If you get a job or a promotion from an employer as a result of this “qualification” you can be charged with “obtaining by false pretence” and if found guilty you could end up in prison for seven years. Is it worth the risk?

Can I get a replacement?

Help me out here. I bought a smartphone and it gave me technical problem. I then took it back last week Tuesday since it was still under warranty so every time I went there to get it they are telling me the technician is working on it. Am I suppose to get a repaired phone or a new phone coz they cant fix it again?

Let’s begin with Section 13 (1) (a) of the Consumer protection Regulations. This says that a consumer is entitled to buy commodities or services that are “of merchantable quality”. The regulations says that this means products that are “fit for the purposes for which commodities of that kind are usually purchased, as it is reasonable to expect in light of the relevant circumstances”. In other words if you buy a cellphone it must be able to make phone calls, pick up texts and work in a fashion that most people would find acceptable. Put very simply, it should work.

Normally, when there’s a problem with something you’ve purchased, you're entitled to one of the three 'R's: a refund, replacement or a repair but in most circumstances it's up to the store to decide which of these they offer you. A store is entitled to try to repair an item, particularly if the problem is fairly minor. However if a store can't repair something within a reasonable time then I think it’s fair to demand a replacement or a refund.

I’ll be happy to contact the store on your behalf to see if they can’t do the decent thing.

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