Saturday 18 March 2017

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Where’s my money?

In September 2016 I got in an agreement with a Debt Collector who charged me P800 for their services to help me collect money from 5 of my debtors. In October debtor 1 paid their money (P250) and in November debtor 2 paid 8% of what they owe and that was it. Whenever I ask the debtor collector for feedback they either reply late or they don’t reply at all and I was the one always asking for a follow-up after weeks without them making an effort to call me or give me feedback.

In January I went to their work place only to find out that it has been locked by the landlord since they could not pay for their rental. I then tried to call them more than 3 times but they never picked my calls and when I called with a different number they answered and told me they had moved to a different location which they will tell me in 2 days.

After 2 days I called them to ask for the new location so I can make a follow up about my debts and to my surprise I was told that the new location is by appointment which is chargeable and I had to bear the costs. So I told them I won’t pay for them and they should make a way for meeting with me since I am not happy with their service. I never got a reply from them for a month and last week I sent them a text telling them I want to end my contract with them since I am not happy with their service and they replied say I can come get my money from the 2 debtors.

So these people took your money, failed to do most of the work, got evicted for being financially useless and now they want you to pay them just to meet you? That’s pathetic.

I suspect there’s no point in trying to get your P800 back, it’ll probably cost you more than that in time and expenses to get it back. Probably the best thing you can do is to collect the money they retrieved so far and then forget you ever even heard of them.

Have they robbed me?

I had a policy with an insurance company for the past two years. This policy was for my son for long term until he reaches 21 years. I cancelled the policy on the 8th September 2015 and I was told that I will only receive P4,300 from the P10,564 that I had invested in the two years of the policy existence.

When I asked why the P6,264 was subtracted from my money and I was told that that's how its done. The P4,300 will be deposited in my account in seven working days. There is no way I could serve notice.

It is so stressing that more than half of what I had invested was taken from me with no reason. When I looked at the cancellation policy on the document that I was given there was no percentage of cancellation refunds.

I feel robbed. Please assist me as soon as possible.

You didn’t say which policy you bought so I can’t say for sure but I suspect you’re out of luck.

Many long-term investment plans involve the payment of commission to the company that offers the product. However, in a policy that can last for ten or twenty years the company doesn’t want to wait all that time for their income so they “front load” their earnings at the beginning of the policy period. In other words you pay the commission up front in the first couple of years. You only start to earn money after that period is concluded.

You’re certainly not the first person to fall victim to this. We’ve heard of similar things happening many times and it seems that very often the people selling these schemes either neglect to mention the front-loading of the commission or they deliberately hide it. Even if they do mention it they often do so using language that customers don’t understand and the result is simple. People don’t realise that if they cancel their policy in the first few years they’ll end up losing money, just like you have.

I think it’s time for companies to be a lot clearer about the terms and conditions of their policies and in particular about things like front-loading.

We’ll get in touch with the company for you and see if there’s anything they can do to help you but don’t be optimistic. I suspect you’re out of luck.

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