Friday, 6 October 2017

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Double deductions?

I am emailing on behalf of my father who has an issue with a deduction made from his bank account for his car loan. He had a car loan through the bank and was in arrears by 2 months. He received a call from reminding him about the arrears and the week after the call, he cleared the outstanding balance.

1 or 2 weeks later he saw a deduction of P1900 from his account. When he made a query regarding this deduction, he was told it was done by the car loan division. He was charged P1900 for the telephonic reminder regarding his arrears from their legal department.

He contacted the bank branch manager and even the manager said it was not correct for them to make a deduction like this. He said he will try and sort out the matter but unfortunately till date we have not been able to get assistance. It's been more than a month.

What can be done in this situation? Your assistance would be highly appreciated.

Your father deserves to be given the facts. Yes, he was in arrears by 2 months and that was an obvious breach of his loan agreement. I’m sure we all agree that he shouldn’t have been in arrears. But that’s life. Bad things happen and when they do we should expect the people to whom we owe money to behave decently. Yes, there probably is a clause in the loan agreement saying that they could penalise him, charge him a penalty fee, record his debt with a credit reference agency and seize his children and sell them to recover their losses.

Ok, I admit I made up that last bit. I suggest you advise your father to contact the Managing Director of the bank and ask for a full statement of his account so he can check whether they can do arithmetic correctly. Please don’t contact anyone else about this, only the MD is sufficient. Please also advise your father that whatever the bank might say, he can ignore their official complaints procedure. It’s 2017, the age of Facebook and consumer power. He can complain to whoever he pleases. He’s in charge.

Where’s my leather?

I bought sofas at from a store last July after being told by the shop owner that they were made of leather. In May this year the sofas started cracking and I called and told the owner about the problem and he immediately sent his employees to go and fetch the sofas. He then changed his story that the sofas were coated with leatherette on the sides that is why they are cracking and I told him that if he could have told me the truth, I wouldn’t have bought the sofas. He then promised me that he will remove the leatherette and replace it with leather where the cracking was occurring. To my surprise he did only one sofa and I immediately called him that the other sofa was cracking and I sent him the pictures again. He did not respond and I went to see him in person. He again promised me that I should call again to check if the leather was available because he was expecting it soon. I checked him again about the issue and he told me that there is nothing he can assist me with because he can’t keep on fixing the sofas time and again and that their warranty has elapsed. I then told him that the problem started when the sofas were on warranty and he was unable to give a satisfying answer. 


The store owner has breached almost every one of the Consumer Protection Regulations as well as treating you with contempt. There’s no point in listing the regulations he’s broken, I think you should go back to him and give him a letter saying that he has comprehensively abused your rights as a consumer and demanding a solution within 14 days. List the various dates and feeble excuses he’s given you and tell him in the letter that if he fails to fix the sofas within the time you’ve given him you’ll take whatever form of legal action you think necessary against him and his store.

You must also make it very clear in your letter that he was informed of his failure to honour your rights within the warranty period and that his excuse about the warranty having now expired is nothing more than nonsense and a distraction. Let’s see how that works!

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