Friday, 8 January 2016

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Have I won?

I need help i received a message from this number +14052833355 telling me that my mascom number has won iprize from sumsang. The amount is 850 000 GBP i.e pounds. I should email my names, telephone to them. Well i am using sumsang phone but i am wondering if there is any sumsang competition going on and if so why would i be selected in the U.K.

This is without doubt a scam. The clues are there. The number that sent the message appears to be from Oklahoma (+1 is the international code for the USA and 405 is the area code for Oklahoma City) but the prize they are offering is in British Pounds. Isn’t that a bit suspicious? Wouldn’t it be in US dollars?

Secondly, if they’ve selected you as the winner of such a large amount of money, why do they need to know your name and phone number? Surely they’d know these things already? This isn’t the way companies like Samsung operate. While their local distributors run competitions within each country, have you ever heard of companies like Samsung, Apple or Nokia running international competitions? I certainly haven’t.

Finally there are two big clues. The first is perhaps obvious. You can’t win a competition that you didn’t enter. You really can’t.

And the other clue? If you are the lucky one who’s won all this money, why did they send the same message to several other people as well? You’re not the only person who contacted us about the very same message. I suspect they’ve sent it to thousands of people.

As many readers of The Voice will tell you, this is just the beginning of an advance fee scam. Sooner or later they’ll demand that you pay them money to get the prize they’re offering. They’ll say it’s a tax or duty or a legal fee but that payment, that’s what the whole scam is about. Just delete the message and forget you ever received it.

Should she return the TV?

Seasons Greetings. I'm asking for a friend. She bought a plasma tv using her name using hire purchase. According to her someone had promised to help her pay the installments. Now that person is slow to assist. She says she approached the sales people at that furniture shop to ask what the procedure would be if she wanted to return it since she can't pay for it. She says the sales people told her she would be listed at the credit bureau as a slow payer. Anyone who knows what the procedure is help.

I’m sorry, there is no “procedure” to get your friend out of this mess. She committed herself very unwisely to buying the TV, at least partially, on behalf of someone else. As she has now discovered that’s a very dangerous thing to do.

What’s also very dangerous is just returning goods if you can’t afford them. It’s dangerous because the debt doesn’t go away when you return the goods.

Let’s assume that you buy a TV that is sold for cash for P3,000 but which will cost about P6,000 on hire purchase over 2 years. Yes, it’s usually about double the cash price. After six months you’ll have paid back P1,500 and will still owe the store P4,500. If you return the TV to the store they will probably only be able to sell it for half the original cash price, maybe P1,500 because it’s now second hand and used. That will leave you still owing P3,000, the original cash price of the TV. Add to that late payment charges, interest, debt collection fees and you could end up owing more then the total hire purchase cost. And you’ll be listed with credit reference agencies as a bad payer. And you won’t even have the TV any longer.

And another thing. Please tell your friend that she can’t sell the TV herself. That’s because it doesn’t even belong to her. When you buy something on hire purchase the item doesn’t actually belong to you until you make the final repayment. Until that moment the goods still belong to the store.

The tragic news is that if something goes wrong with hire purchase you are, to use a technical term, screwed.

I suggest you get your friend to talk to the store and see of they can rearrange the repayment terms so that she can afford them. If necessary we’ll speak to them on her behalf.

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