Friday 13 May 2016

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Must I pay it all?

I need your intervention or guidance. I took a loan of P30,000 from my bank some time in 2008 or so. My instalments were P968.08 for 36 months. I paid for 1 and half years and left my employer where the debit order was running. I stopped paying for 2-3 years and they presented me with a summons from deputy sheriffs and I spoke with their collection department who advised me to restart the debit order which ran with the same amount 968.08. To my surprise the debt has already gone to P75,000 of which I was told it was for charges I fail to understand. I have been paying since 2013 and I’m still paying and still the balance is P74,000.

What happened to the in duplum rule which states that unpaid interest on a money debt owing ceases to accumulate once it reaches the amount of the capital sum. In other words, the aggregate debt (capital plus interest) cannot exceed double the capital amount. The in duplum rule apply to borrowed money, and to all debts (including judgment debts) arising from a capital amount that is owed.

Firstly, I’m not a lawyer, all I can offer is my layman’s opinion. The “in duplum” does indeed say that the interest on a debt cannot exceed the capital sum upon which it is based but this rule only applies at the time the debt is settled, not over the course of the repayment period. It’s perfectly possible, for instance, to pay off more than double the amount you borrowed with a home loan, mainly because the repayment period can often be as long as twenty years.

I’m also a bit confused by the numbers you give. If you monthly repayment was P968 then you got a remarkably good deal on a loan of P30,000 over three years. That’s a truly tiny interest rate. Are you sure those figures are correct?

The biggest problem you face is the “2-3 years” when you didn’t pay. The interest, penalties and charges can easily amount to a LOT of money of that period. Starting to pay off the debt at the original rate of P968 per month isn’t going to be nearly enough.

I suggest that you ask the bank for a full statement of the debt, going back to the very beginning and get your calculator out. Then go and talk to the bank and see if you can’t arrange a more practical repayment plan. You can only rely on the “in duplum” rule if you’re planning to settle it with one payment.

Can I get my money back?

I bought a radiator cowling for my van and this past Saturday I found the old one which we misplaced and I then take the new one which I never used back to shop to get my money back and the owner refused saying why did I take such a long time and parts that are correctly supplied are not returnable. So as a consumer, don’t I have the right to return the goods and claim my money back?

No, you don’t.

You only have a right to action by a supplier when they are the ones who have done something wrong. What have they done wrong here?

When you buy something that is not “of merchantable quality”, as required by Section 13 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations 2001 you have a right to one of the three ‘R’s: a refund, a repair or a replacement. Critically, it’s normally up to the store to choose which of these they offer you. They’re entitled to try and repair something before they offer you a replacement or a refund. But this is when THEY have done something wrong, like offer you sub-standard goods.

In this situation, all they did was sell you exactly what you wanted. As far as I understand what they sold you did what you wanted it to do?

Of course a nice store might be charitable and so long as the item has never been used, is in perfect condition and is still in its original packaging nobody would complain if they resold it. But they don’t have to.

Why not go back to the store and see if they can’t be kind to you. Explain to them that you made a simple mistake, you know it’s not their fault and the item is still in perfect condition. Try a charm offensive!

No comments: