Sunday, 26 May 2019

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Must I pay?

Please help me. I bought a wardrobe last year and the agreement was to pay for 12 months. I settled my account in December last year paying P2400. I was told that was my clearance amount. In February this year I got a call from the store that the cashier made a mistake by putting the other customer's money in my account and I have to pay for that mistake. I told them I can't do that because it's not my mistake. They kept quiet and today I received an email that I owe them P1019 to be paid end of this month. What do I do? Please help.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to be much help to you.

Yes, I understand that the store made a mistake. Their employee credited someone else’s payment into your account and that was certainly a mistake but it doesn’t alter the fact that you are committed to paying off your debt to the store.

I know it must seem frustrating but when you buy something on hire purchase or any other finance scheme both sides have obligations. The store has an obligation to charge you the right amount and you have an obligation to pay the right amount. Of course, either side might occasionally make mistakes but that doesn’t change the fundamental facts. When one party makes a mistake it’s their job to confess and to fix the problem they caused. If the store had overcharged you, I’m sure you would want them to own up and fix it, wouldn’t you?

It’s irritating but you, like anyone who owed money to a store, were obliged to make sure that the payments were made correctly and if you settle the debt, that the settlement fee was correct and complete.

Here’s another thing. What about the other person, the one whose payment was mistakenly credited to your account? Do you really want them to be in debt as a result of the store’s mistake?

Where’s my money?

On the 28 April I had interest in buying couches on high purchase at a shop in Francistown and I paid P3000 as a deposit. After processing all the documents and being told that I am eligible as I meet the requirements. After a few days of waiting for the couches to be delivered I called back and I found out that the documents were not approved yet first they told me that they are approved. I went back to the shop and requested for a refund. I was told and assured that my refund is being processed after being requested to provide the relevant information for the refund process and was told that it will only take 5 working days. Until this date I’m still waiting for my refund. I went there and they told me that the person who is processing the refund he is South Africa and they can only communicate with that person through email and currently the person is not responding to the emails. Until today I’m still waiting for the refund and I have waited enough for this refund it has been 16 days now waiting for the refund. Please assist me in the matter above. Thank you!

This is completely unacceptable. You have done nothing wrong and it’s the store who should be doing their best to fix this situation.

Firstly, they got it wrong when they took your money having offered you a hire purchase agreement, only later to change their mind. They should never have told you that you met the requirements, that was their first mistake.

Their second mistake was to be useless and incompetent. They willingly took your money without, I assume, the help of their manager but now they’re meant to refund you that manager suddenly becomes an essential component of their finance processes? How is that your fault?

I suggest that you tell the store that they took your money in minutes and although you don’t expect a refund within minutes, you have a right to expect a refund within days, not weeks. Tell them that Section 15 (1) (e) of the Consumer Protection Regulations states that when a deal is cancelled, as this one so clearly has, a supplier is required to restore any deposit paid “promptly”. Not when the manager is back from South Africa, not when they have cash, not when they feel like it. “Promptly” is what it says. Is it that too difficult for them to understand?

Saturday, 18 May 2019

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can’t they remove my name?

I and my husband we got a fridge on credit and we failed to pay on time and they suddenly took it from us. So we applied for a loan and the bank told us that our names are on ITC cos of the fridge. We settled and got the fridge back home. Now it's been a month and 3 weeks and the ITC have not yet cleared our names.

It's devastating cos we paid with the money from cash loans so there is a lot of interest there and we are left with nothing. The store said they did their part so the ITC people in S.A. are the one who a dealing with that, deleting our name in the system. Last week they said we should wait for 7 days and they will delete but it's been more than 7 days. We want to take a loan from the bank to do my building project and they a just waiting for us. Someone told me you will definitely help me.

I don’t think you’re going to be pleased with what I have to say.

The issue of the store registering you with a credit reference bureau should fix itself once TransUnion (formerly ITC) update their files. This can take a little while and normally gets done within 30 days of the store telling them that a debt has been settled. The problem is that stores aren’t always as quick to do this as they should be.

However, there’s a more important issue here. I think you urgently need to think carefully about your financial situation. You had problems paying your hire purchase agreement and then got into even more trouble by borrowing from microlenders to pay off that debt. And now you want to borrow money from a bank to pay off that debt? I accept that borrowing from a bank is FAR better from borrowing from a microlender and also far better that borrowing on hire purchase but I think you’re in a downward spiral of debt. I suggest that you speak to a debt counsellor who can advise you on the steps you should take to stabilize your finances. One thing that I suspect they will say is that a “building project” is not nearly as important as paying off debt.

One final point. You really won’t like this one. I couldn’t help notice from your Facebook profile that you are actively recruiting people into a scheme called Global Dream Network? How is being part of an illegal pyramid scheme going to help your finances? It’s only going to make your situation much, much worse, particularly when you consider that the penalty for promoting or even just joining a pyramid scheme is now a fine of up to P100,000 and up to five years in prison.

How can I make her pay?

Hello. I am asking for an advice. 2 years back I entered into a verbal agreement with a friend of mine. I entered in an agreement with a furniture store on her behalf with the agreement that she will pay off. Last month the store called to tell me the account is in arrears and I am being blacklisted. Is there any action I can take against this friend, because now she is avoiding me. Please help.

I’m no attorney but you don’t need to be one to realise that you’re in a mess. The only written agreement in this situation is the hire purchase agreement YOU signed with the furniture store and that commits YOU to make the payments, regardless of who actually possesses the item that the store provided. The fact that your friend has the goods doesn’t matter to the store. You are the only person they care about. Ok, I mean your money.

There’s something else you should remember about buying things on hire purchase. Neither you nor your friend own them, they still belong to the store until the final instalment has been paid. Until that moment, the store is entitled to repossess them if you fall behind with the payments you committed to making. They’re also entitled to register you and your debt with credit reference bureaux.

Obviously, what you should have done is signed a written agreement with your friend that described the arrangement you made with her. That way you might have been able to force her to help you pay off the debt that YOU have towards the furniture store. However, given that she has already failed to pay your debt to the store, do you think she either has the money or cares very much?

Saturday, 11 May 2019

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can I take the tyres back?

How can you help me. I came to a tyre place to buy BF Goodrich tyres and the sales guy convinced me to buy Cooper tyres as he said they are better tyres only for one tyre to be damaged by a thorn and now they don’t want to take their set of tyres back and give me BF Goodrich. They are saying they can only take them back for P1000 each but I bought then for P2500 each. Even their employees are confirming that Cooper is junk. What can you do to help?

Firstly, I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with Cooper tires, at least not in my experience. I’ve had at least one complete set and I believe they’re still in use on the vehicle I bought them for.

Secondly, I’m not sure you have a right to demand that the tyre dealer replace the set you bought. Is there any real evidence that it was a problem with the tyre that caused it to be damaged? Surely it was the thorn you say that damaged the tyre and that could just as easily have happened if you’d chosen any manufacturer?

Section 13 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations is clear that consumers are entitled to goods that are “of merchantable quality” and from what you say, these tyres were that. Remember also that Section 13 (1) (c) of the Regulations is clear that when goods are second-hand, they can’t be sold as new. If the dealer was to take back the tyres they sold you they’re going to lose out financially, which is why they’re asking P1,000 per tyre.

Given the circumstances, I suggest it’s best to stick with the tyres you bought.

Where’s their money?

Several people contacted us recently with very similar questions. They cancelled what they called an insurance policy and didn’t get their money back. Have they been robbed?

There are two issues here, depending on what type of policy they actually bought. The first relates to insurance policies. With an insurance policy, you pay a premium, usually monthly, and in return the insurance company takes on the risk associated with the event you’re insuring against happening. Whether it’s a policy covering your vehicle, your house, your health or your life, the insurance company will pay the costs (or most of them) if something bad happens. The commonest type of policy most of us have is a funeral plan. If, during the term of the policy, one of the people named in the policy dies, the policy will pay the costs of their funeral. However, if you cancel a funeral plan, you don’t get your money back. That’s because you were paying for a service that you received during the period of the policy, even if you didn’t claim. Yes, even if you didn’t claim, you still got “cover” against the risk.

Then there are investment products. They’re a way of saving money for the future and usually they’re for the long-term investor and that makes them a bit more complicated. Many long-term investment plans involve payment of commission to the company that offers the product or the agent that sold it to you. However, in a policy that can last for ten or twenty years the agent 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.

The problem happens if you cancel the policy during that early period. Because the commission is taken in that period, you might not have actually earned any money yet. You might take home very little or perhaps nothing at all.

We’ve heard about this second situations many times and it seems that sometimes the people selling these policies 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 get little or nothing from it.

Clearly it’s time for the people selling these policies to be a lot more open about how these policies work and in particular about things like front-loading.

Meanwhile, the lesson for us all is to read and thoroughly understand any insurance or investment policy we buy, before we sign them, not afterwards.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Do I have any rights?

About 2 months back I bought a second hand car from a car dealer in Mogoditshane. The guy said the car was a sold as is. I requested to test drive and had a mechanic look at it and it all looked good. After paying for the car I was made to sign a document that its a buy as it is and that I can't hold the company accountable for any mechanical defects that I may notice afterwards. The dealer had assured me the car was in good condition and that I only need to service and it will be ok.

A day or two after the transaction I realised the car was unstable when it reaches speeds above 80km/h. I went back to the dealer and he advised I fix the suspension of the car and it will be well. So I went and did just that unfortunately even after that the car still shakes and swerves when doing above 80km/h speed. There was no way of noticing this when test driving because speed limits in the city and surrounding areas is 60km/h.

Is there anyway u can help?

I’m sorry but I don’t think I can give you any good news.

The car dealer did everything he could to protect himself and I suspect there’s little you do to make him change his position. He allowed you to take it for a test drive and you noticed no problems during that drive. I understand that the speed limits would have restricted you to relatively slow speeds but it might have been wise to ask to take it somewhere you could test it at higher speeds. I was lucky a few years ago when a dealer selling me a car insisted that we go for a drive on a highway and also off-road to prove how well the car drove. That’s a lesson we should all perhaps learn. A 2-minute drive at 60 km/h isn’t enough.

The dealer also allowed you to do something we always advise consumers to do, to get an independent mechanic to inspect the vehicle. It’s a shame that your mechanic wasn’t able to spot the problems the vehicle obviously had.

Finally, and this is probably the really bad news. you signed a document saying that the vehicle was sold “as is” and also that you wouldn’t hold the company accountable for any faults that emerged later. The only document relating to the sale appears to be one that says you’re waiving your rights.

I’m sorry I don’t have better news.

Can I get a different one?

In 2017 in June I bought a JVC home theater system to be paid in installments for 24 months. After I got the products within a month it had a problem of reducing its volume every time when in use. I reported it to the stores around August 2017, then I returned it back which then they take about 7 months without giving me a new one but all the time I was paying.

In 2018 around March they gave me another JVC home theater which later then gave me the same problems and then in January 2019 I returned the products. Remember this is the second one. When returning the second one I wrote a cover letter which I explained that I don't want the products anymore rather they should give me the different item but same price. In April 2019 they called me to come and get another JVC home theater system. Then I refuse but the management told me that since I'm not working and my sister is the one who pays my instalments I'm unable to take a new item of same price from the shop since they will need a pay slip which I don't have to open a new account for another item. So they told me that the only option I have since I'm not working is to get another JVC home theater system again which I'm afraid it will repeat the same problem. So I please need help to change this item to another item with same price. The reason why I refuse the same item is that it's guarantee it's 3 years.

This is complicated. Let’s begin with your rights. When you are given a product that is “not of merchantable quality” as required by Section 13 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations you have a right to one of the ‘three Rs’, a refund, repair or replacement. However, and this is important, it’s the store that decides which you receive. This store is with its rights to replace the item with an identical one. I know it’s frustrating that they keep going wrong but look on the bright side, they offer a three-year guarantee so you’ll continue to get support until next year.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Is this a genuine job offer?

I received an email from Al Zawali Construction in the United Arab Emirates saying that my “qualifications and experiences which you submitted online matched the requirements for our on going employment”. I don’t remember submitting my details online so do you think this is genuine?

It’s a genuine scam, that’s for sure.

Here’s a simple truth. Employers don’t contact total strangers offering them jobs. The email you sent me contained a few clues that it wasn’t genuine. Firstly, the email didn’t include your name, it just said “Greetings”. if it was true that they saw your details online, don’t you think they would know your name? Then they ask you to send your CV. Surely, if this was genuine, they’d have seen it already?

Then there’s the language they use. “qualifications and experiences”? “for our on going employment”? Does that sound like a well-educated HR professional to you? It doesn’t to me.

There are other clues that you need some cyber-detective skills to notice. Their web site says that “Over thirty thousand(30,000) employees have worked at the company for over 10 years and nearly half of the 1000+ employees have worked at Al Zawali Contruction Company for more than five years” but their
domain,, was only registered on 2nd March 2019. And they can’t spell the name of their own company correctly!

There’s one final clue that you wouldn’t know about. Consumer Watchdog received exactly the same email a few days ago. We certainly didn’t post our profile online because Consumer Watchdog isn’t a person.

This is the beginning of an advance fee scam. Sooner or later they’ll demand money from you in order to obtain the fake job they say they’re offering. They’ll probably say it’s for a visa or legal fee and that’s what this scam is all about, that advance fee. Even if you pay them it won’t stop, they’ll keep demanding money until you either realize it’s a scam or you simply run out of cash. Please don’t waste your time and money.

Is Donations for Wealth real?

You’re not the first to ask us this. You won’t be the last.

Donations For Wealth describe themselves on their web site as "a 21st Century Donation system and Crowd Sharing Platform” and that “Now Here's A Sure Way To Get The JUMP On a Money Train & Start Making More Money Than You Ever Thought Possible!”

They claim that their business “brings forth a new way of raising funds for various causes, whether it is for personal needs or a host of worthy causes, such as Paying off Debts, Groceries, Holiday, Weadding, Buying a car, churches, schools, non-profit organizations, etc."


This is the language used by Ponzi schemes. You “donate” money into the scheme and somehow, perhaps magically, greater amounts of money come back to you. For instance they claim that you can “Turn R10 into R100,000“ without explaining how this might be possible. They then claim that recruits can “Turn R100 into R40,000” which is surprising as it’s less than the first offer for a bigger “donation”. Perhaps most impressively they suggest that you can “Turn R5 into 2 Million”.

Like other Ponzi schemes they don’t even attempt to explain how the money they claim you can make is generated. That’s because like with other such scams the only source of new money is from the people who join after you. That’s where they get the small amounts of money they might offer you in return for your “donations”. That’s how a Ponzi scheme works.

Like all Ponzi schemes Donations For Wealth will collapse. Their domain was only registered in February this year so they’ve had a couple of months to steal people’s money. I predict they’ll be gone with victim’s money in another few months. Please don’t be one of those victims!

Also, remember that Section 9 of the Consumer Protection Act outlaws Ponzi schemes as well as pyramid schemes. Do you want to run the risk of a fine of P100,000 or five years in prison even for just joining a scam like this one?

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Is Global Dream Network legit?

I’ve been invited to seminars about Global Dream Network. Do you think it’s legit?

Many people have asked us the same question recently. They’ve either been invited to seminars (mostly at UB) or encouraged on Facebook to join WhatsApp groups about Global Dreams Network. They seem to be recruiting very hard within the University of Botswana and also BIUST in Palapye.

GDN say that their business is "all about giving donation to another member and you shall receive donation in multiples" and that it’s “a Person to Person, Direct Funding and Crowd Sharing Platform”. That’s exactly what we heard from a range of previous pyramid and Ponzi schemes, a mysterious scheme in which you donate money and magically, a lot more money comes your way. It’s not difficult to see that it’s an impossible, unsustainable business model.

Their own marketing material is very clear, that after joining for a fee of R350, and then recruiting a pyramid four levels deep, they claim you’ll have “potential earnings” of R38,800. However, just a few moments of mental arithmetic show that this is simply impossible.

I joined one of their WhatsApp conversations and asked the recruiter “To make money do I need to sell any products or just recruit other people” and was told “You recruit 2 people and teach ur two people to do the same”. She then confirmed to me that there are no actual products being bought or sold. That’s the definition of a pyramid scheme. No products, just recruitment of other people.

I did a little detective work and even though it operates in Rands, Global Dream Network does not appear to be a registered company in South Africa. Their domain was only registered on 21st January 2019 but their registration details have been withheld.

The bad news for anyone promoting or even joining a scheme like GDN is that the 2018 Consumer Protection Act will punish them with a fine of up to P100,000 and up to five years in prison. I suggest you ignore any invitations from Global Dream Network and don’t waste your time, effort and money. You might also escape a huge fine and time in jail!

P.S. I’ve also written to UB, suggesting they think more carefully about letting pyramid schemes like GDN exploit their facilities.

Must I pay them?

I bought a fridge and TV in May last year and I paid and paid on so from September and October I didn't manage to pay and November they came and took their property. They gave me a week for me to pay the instalment I didn’t manage for some other reasons then month end I went there to pay and collect my things to find that they sold them ok I just left it there. Now I want to get a loan from my bank and found that my name is in ITC. I went to their office and they told me to pay the P15000 first so they can remove me from ITC for what I don't know because they already sold the property. They are saying that to remove my name I should pay the amount otherwise they can't help me. Help sir what can I do?

Unfortunately, there’s very little you can do. Here’s the first thing you should know about hire purchase. The reason it’s called “hire” purchase is that you are hiring the goods before purchasing them. Until you pay the final instalment, the goods still belong to the store, not you. That means the store is entitled to repossess them without notice or a court order.

It gets worse. When you buy something on hire purchase and you stop paying your instalments the store is entitled to repossess the goods and then sell them and the money they get from that sale goes towards the amount you still owe the store. The problem is that the profit they get from the sale is tiny compared to the balance you still owe them. If you then fail to pay off the amount you still owe, the store is entitled to register your debt with a credit reference bureau like TransUnion. That will then make it very difficult for you to get a loan elsewhere.

And the reason they can do this? Because it’s true. You do still owe the store that money and it’s reasonable for other organisations to know that before they lend you money or offer you credit. The best thing you can do is ot contact the store and negotiate a repayment plan that you can afford.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Consumer Alert - Donations For Wealth

Consumer Alert
Donations for Wealth

Donations For Wealth describe themselves as:
"a 21st Century Donation system and Crowd Sharing Platform. It brings forth a new way of raising funds for various causes, whether it is for personal needs or a host of worthy causes, such as Paying off Debts, Groceries, Holiday, Weadding, Buying a car, churches, schools, non-profit organizations, etc."
They also say that they are the "No 1 World's best donation system" make some remarkable offers:
Turn R5 into 2 Million / Turn $ 0.40 into $150,000
Turn R10 into R100,000 / Turn $1 into $6920
Turn R100 into R40,000 / Turn $7 into $2700
Turn 500 into R135,000 / Turn $34 into $9160
Turn R500 into R20,000 / Turn $34 into $1358
Turn R50 into R5000 / Turn $3.40 into $340
Turn R200 into R4600  / Turn $14 into $312
Turn R500 into R21000  / Turn $34 into $1400
And then they claim that you can "Turn A once-off R10 to over R100,000".

Given that there are no products, that the only source of income seems to come from subsequent recruits, it's clear that Donations for Wealth is a Ponzi scheme. Or maybe a pyramid scheme. One of their Facebook posts was very simple about the business model:
"Lets work hard and Make money! Recruit Recruit Recruit!!"
The FAQ page on their web site (the domain for which was only registered on 12th February this year) includes the question "Can I sign people up myself?" and answers:
"Yes you can. In fact, you are encouraged to do that to make sure that the people you refer are placed under the correct Referrer, which is you."
One of their Facebook posts was very simple about the business model:
"Lets work hard and Make money! Recruit Recruit Recruit!!"
Whether it's a Ponzi scheme or a pyramid scheme doesn't really matter. Either way it's illegal.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Will Amway make you rich? No.

Amway's income disclosure statement for the United Kingdom for 2017 (which covers the period the period from September 2016 to August 2017) makes depressing reading for anyone considering joining Amway. It'll be even more depressing for those who've already joined.

During that period there were 36,874 "Retail Consultants" and "Certified Retail Consultants". However, only 33% of them actually earned any money.

The average monthly income for these "Retail Consultants" and "Certified Retail Consultants" was a mere £77, just over P1,000. Remember that this is income, not profit. It doesn't include the cost of getting that income, the airtime and data, transport, power and water bills. I suspect that to earn P1,000 you probably need spend roughly the same amount.

The 66 people who reached the level of "Business Consultant", those at the top of the Amway pyramid, made an average of just over £27,000, around P370,000. Again, that's income, not profit. That's fewer than one in 500 Amway business owners. For reference, average earnings in the UK were also about the same amount.

The simple and depressing truth is that you need to be one of a tiny minority of Amway business owners if you want to make any significant money. How likely is that?

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Consumer Alert - Global Dream Network

Global Dream Network describe their business model as:
"It's all about giving donation to another member and you shall receive donation in multiples"
They also say that the system is:
"a Person to Person, Direct Funding and Crowd Sharing Platform. It brings forth a new way of raising funds for various causes, whether it is for personal needs or a host of worthy causes, such as churches, schools, non-profit organizations, etc."
The truth is much simpler. It's a pyramid scheme. Their own imagery shows this.

Their web site and their distributors are very clear that there are no products, all recruits need to do is to recruit other people.

Global Dream Network does not appear to be a registered company in South Africa, despite seeming to operate using Rand. Their domain was only registered on 21st January 2019 but the registration details have been withheld.

Section 9 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2018 defines a pyramid scheme as a scheme “where participants in the scheme receive compensation derived primarily from their respective recruitment of other persons as participants”. It also says that “A person shall not directly or indirectly promote, or knowingly join, enter or participate, or cause any other person to promote, join, enter or participate in... a pyramid scheme”.

The penalty for promoting, even indirectly promoting or even just joining a pyramid scheme is “a fine not exceeding P100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to both.”

Global Dream Network is clearly a pyramid scheme and is therefore illegal in Botswana. Consumer Watchdog urges consumers not to waste their time, effort and money in such an illegal scheme.

Friday, 12 April 2019

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Where’s my phone?

On January 3rd I took my phone to a repair shop to get the charging system fixed. They took my phone and gave me a receipt for the cost of repairing it. I was told to come back after 2 days. Upon going there, they still had not fixed it and said they would call when done. Indeed they called to say I should collect my phone it has been fixed. I get there and they hand me my phone and the glass back cover is shattered, they explained it was an accident.

Now I insert my sim card and the phone has no signal. I confront them about the issue and they start telling me about software issues and so forth, so they said they will take a look at it and will call when its sorted out. So I go and research on Google if its possible for it to be a software problem only to find out that if you put a part that isn’t the same type as the original the network won’t work. It only uses the specific coded parts. I then go and tell them what I had researched, to find out they also found that to be the issue. So they said they would have to order the part. After a month I return to check on my phone and they still haven’t got the correct part. On top of that the phone is now scratched and doesn’t power on anymore and permanently locked. They promised to fix all that and replace the cracked covers. A month later I returned again and still the same story and they admitted that they can no longer fix the Phone because its an original "high end" and doesn’t take counterfeit parts. Now I asked them what’s the way forward because I brought my phone in good working condition and now the phone is totally dead. They don’t have a response. What can I do?

What can you do? You can expect a new phone.

This so-called “repair shop” have mistreated you comprehensively and have also probably acted illegally by using counterfeit parts. I suggest that you contact the good people at the Consumer Protection Unit in the Ministry of Investment Trade and Industry and ask them to flex their muscles in the direction of this disreputable company. Suggest to them that this company has breached almost every one of the Consumer Protection Regulations, in particular those related to offering goods and services that are “of merchantable quality” and delivered “with reasonable care and skill”.

From what you say, it’s clear that this company shouldn’t be in the phone repairs business at all. They need to be in the ‘giving you a new phone’ business.

Can I get a refund?

Kindly assist on how I should go about my issue. I purchased a TV on the 20th of January this year, the TV gave me problems and I returned on the 23rd of March after I logged a case on the 16th of March.

They called me today 4th of April saying I have been credited and should come and choose another TV as they don't have a similar TV to replace my faulty one. From the TVs they have they don't have the same size of TV with the same price that I purchased the now faulty one. I opted to be refunded as they don't have a similar TV within the same price range. They are refusing refunding saying I should choose another one and the don't have one and also don't have money to top up for a similar size of TV.

When a store sells something that isn’t “of merchantable quality” we, as consumers, have a right to have that problem fixed and the solution must be one of the three R’s: a refund, a repair or a replacement. However, the current rules suggest that it’s up to the supplier to decide which of those they offer you. So the store is entitled to offer you a replacement TV of the same value to the one you bought.

However, in your case it’s more complicated. If they don’t have a TV that matches the price and functionality of the one you bought their options are simple. They can either offer you one that’s better than the original or they can refund you your money. Is that perhaps too complicated for them to understand?

We’ll get in touch with the store and see if we can explain it to them inn very simple language.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Have I been hacked?

I received an email saying that my account had been infected. It said that a hacker had exploited my email and had developed a virus that tracked pornographic web sites I visited and it says that they have videos of me watching pornography and of the sites it says I visited but this isn’t true, I haven’t visited those sites.

They say that I must send them $1,000 by Bitcoins and if I don’t they will send the videofile to all of my contacts including relatives and coworkers. What must I do?

What should you do? Absolutely nothing. I really mean that. Do nothing.

This is a scam, it’s not real. No hacker has infected your “account”, nobody has video recordings of you visiting pornographic web sites (the ones you didn’t actually visit), nobody is going to reveal anything to your relatives and co-workers because there’s nothing to reveal. This is just about extorting money from you. You can also be certain that if you did pay them the $1,000 they’re trying to blackmail from you, they would just continue to demand more and more from you until either you realised it was a scam or you ran out of money.

If it helps to reassure you, you should know that we also received exactly the same email as have many other people. These scammers rely on finding victims that have been viewing pornography online and have a guilty conscience about it. My advice is just to delete the email and do the same to any others like it that you might receive.

Meanwhile, this is perhaps a very good opportunity to make sure your computer is fully protected. Whatever operating system you use, turn on your firewall, make sure you install all the updates your computer suggests and install an antivirus package and then keep it up-to-date. And finally, be very careful what web sites you visit!

Have I won a tender?

I received an email below from a person who apparently works at PPADB.

This is my first time to receive such an email from "PPADB" with regards to tenders but I have a suspicion this email is not legitimate. The email doesn't seem to be genuine nor does the toll free number seem correct. There are 2 attachments and one of them has CONFIDENTIAL as a watermark.

Do you know of any other companies who have received emails claiming to be from PPADB?

Yes, I certainly DO know of other companies who have received emails like this apparently from PPADB. I’ve even received one myself.

This is another scam. The documents you were sent are certainly quite convincing until you look closely. Only then will you notice that the email address they give ends with “” whereas the real PPADB domain is “”. The bogus domain they’re using was only registered in June last year seemingly to someone in South Africa. It’s certainly not the real PPADB.

Based on the conversations I’ve had with people who have previously received emails like this, the way this scam will work is simple but clever. The documents they send give contact details for a supplies company in South Africa that they say will supply you with the goods they claim PPADB requires. But this fake company is part of the scam as well. Once you get in touch, they’ll do their best to seem like a legitimate company and will offer you the goods that PAPDB want but they’ll demand a deposit before they can ship them.

That’s what the scam is all about, that deposit you pay them. Rest assured that you will never see the goods or the deposit again.

This scam is so common that various government agencies, including PPADB has issued warnings to people stating that it’s a scam and that people who not respond to any tender requests until they’ve spoken to the procuring entity first to ensure that it’s genuine.

Please don’t be like the person I spoke to a few months ago who sent these scammers a deposit of P180,000, thinking they were going to get rich from a government tender. They’re now quite the opposite: poorer, sadder and deeply ashamed of their naivete.

Sunday, 31 March 2019

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Where’s my money?

I bought a second hand car in December 2018 from a certain garage in Mogoditshane and the car had a lot of faults which the owner had promised he will fix before I take the car. To my surprise he did nothing and the car almost killed me on my way to my home village.

I contacted him and he agreed that I should return the car and he will replace with another. I waited till end of January for a replacement to no avail. In mid February I told him now I need my money back. He gave me a cheque but the money in his account is not enough. He keeps postponing the days I need your help in making him pay.

You might not realise it but you’re actually quite lucky. Many second-hand car dealers would have washed their hands of this situation and told you that they weren’t going to help. At least this one has indicated that he’ll do the decent thing. That was probably because of the danger the car posed to you and the realisation that if you had been harmed his reputation and his business would have suffered.

The other good news is that you now have a very powerful case against him. Yes, he sold you a vehicle that wasn’t “of merchantable quality” as required by Section 13 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations but then he did something much, much worse. He gave you a dud cheque.

Section 23 of the National Clearance and Settlement Systems Act states that “Any person who knowingly draws or issues a cheque … against which there are no sufficient funds in his account at a financial institution on which the cheque or other payment instrument is drawn shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding P1500 or 3 months imprisonment or to both.”

Selling you a dodgy car will get him in trouble. The bounced cheque could get him jail time. I suggest you tell him this and see how quickly he responds. If he doesn’t then maybe we need to find someone with a uniform, handcuffs and the power of arrest?

Must I refund them?

I need your help, around January 30 2019 I saw an advert on face book from Trends Clothing. The account is in SA but they are saying they are based in the United States of America.

They were looking for agents from different countries, Botswana was amongst them, so I sent my CV they appointed me to be an agent for Botswana. They announced on Facebook that people can forward their orders to me, and people started placing orders and sent money to me so that I can deposit to Trends clothing account. About 20 people placed orders and gave me money. I deposited around $740 on different occasions. We were told that it takes 20 days for orders to arrive but up to now nothing has arrived. People are now mad at me.

Trends are now not responding to my emails and they blocked me on their page as well but the sad thing is that they are continuing to take money from people. I have also called agents from South Africa and Swaziland and they are experiencing the same. My worry is they are continuing to take money from people

In this case is it me who is supposed to refund them or Trends?

I contacted Trends Clothing in South Africa to ask them about your concerns and I was told by someone called Raylene that she had “forwarded the email to our legal and tracking department. They should be in contact with you within 2 business days”. At the time I wrote this, that was eleven days ago. Unless they’ve got in touch before you read this, it’s now more than two weeks, not two days. I think that tells us something about them, don’t you?

You are certainly not the only person who has been disappointed by Trends Clothing. I found lots of other complaints, many of them reporting experiences the same as yours. Money paid, no deliveries and then silence. The bad news is that unless you can persuade them to be patient or forgive you, the people who paid you for goods probably do deserve a refund from you, not Trends Clothing. It was you they paid, not the shady characters in South Africa. Meanwhile, I’ll keep up the pressure on the South Africans.

Friday, 22 March 2019

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Must I pay?

Please assist me to understand this below.

I had a child in English medium school doing Standard 4 in 2018 and in December I wrote to the school to notify them that I will transfer my child in January 2019. I had paid all school fees for Standard 4 and in response they informed me that according to school policy is either I offer a term notice or pay one term school fees in lieu of notice. I had to transfer my child as soon as possible for personal reasons. My question is that normal to charge a notice penalty of the term fees even if my child had not started Standard 5 with the school? Please advise?

Unfortunately giving a term’s notice is completely normal practice with private schools. If you check the terms and conditions in the contract I assume you signed when you first enrolled your child at the school you’ll probably find a clause stating this. If you think about it, it’s not unreasonable. Your child was occupying a place that another child could have taken and unless the school has a waiting list for students it could easily take them a term or longer to find a replacement for your child. Think of it like the notice you must offer when you leave a rented property.

You could try to avoid this by not paying the notice period but there’s a real risk that the school will engage an attorney and chase you for the money. Do you really want to run the risk of a judgment against you?

It might be worth asking the school if they can’t be a little bit more flexible, but I wouldn’t be optimistic. They’ll be within their rights to insist that you honour the agreement you signed.

Is CBN a pyramid scheme?

It most certainly is, there’s no doubt about it and they’re actively seeking new recruits right now as you read this.

I saw one of their advertisements which said that with CBN “It’s simple to work with us”, and that recruits could get medical assistance, legal aid assistance, grocery vouchers, international trips and scholarships. The advertisements even state that the business is “recruitment only” and that there is “no selling products”.

I contacted one of the recruiters and she was very keen to tell me all about it.

She told me that “already there are people who have benefited from it” and that “it’s all about you putting an effort and moving”. I asked whether it was just about recruiting other people or selling products and she was honest. “Just recruiting my dear, no selling of products at all”. I asked her if that made CBN a pyramid scheme and she said “I would say that in a way, Yes it does. Network marketing is all about having more people under you so that you advance to higher stages.”

I then asked, “With CBN it’s just about building a pyramid?” She said “yes, with CBN its all about building a pyramid”.

At least she’s honest!

The bad news for the people promoting CBN and even those joining it is that the new Consumer Protection Act states very clearly that it’s illegal for anyone to promote or even to “knowingly join, enter or participate, or cause any other person to promote, join, enter or participate in… a pyramid scheme”. You might ask whether qualifies as a pyramid scheme under the new Act? It most certainly does. It defines a pyramid scheme as a business where “where participants in the scheme receive compensation derived primarily from their respective recruitment of other persons as participants”. Isn’t that exactly what CBN and its recruiters say?

You might also ask what the penalties might be. That’s the good part. The Act says that anyone convicted of promoting or joining a pyramid scheme “shall be liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding P100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to both.” I really like the idea of seeing some CBN recruiters being led away in handcuffs. I’d pay to see that, wouldn’t you?

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

World Ventures still won't make you any money

Despite claiming to offer "The Road to Fun, Freedom and Fulfilment", the truth is less positive.

The latest "Annual Income Disclosure Statement" from World Ventures makes very poor reading. "Very poor" is probably an appropriate phrase because that's what joining World Ventures is likely to make you.

The figures that refer to their US operation in 2016 show firstly that 79.95% of the people who've joined make nothing from World Ventures. NOTHING.

Of those that make something:
  • 76.5% of all the money earned goes to the top 5.4%.
  • 73.7% of the people earning money share just 10.2% of the income.
And average earnings? If you include just those people who make some money, the average earnings per year is a measly $355. If you include everyone in the scheme, it's a pitiful $30.

So, like all other pyramid and Multi-Level Marketing schemes, it's only the people at the top that make money and they only do so at the expense of the vast majority below them.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can she escape World Ventures?

I’m trying to help an elder who committed herself into some two ladies who said they are travel agents offering holiday packages. I was shocked to hear her side of the story that its almost a year now without hearing from them but they are taking a monthly direct debit order from her account of P300. She was traveling the other time so she tried to call and ask them if they can handle the flights and accommodation and travel expenses but they are nowhere to be found!!

The name of the travel agent website page is World Ventures.

We are kindly asking for help if we can stop the monthly transaction with the bank with this people?

This is very sad. Your elderly friend has fallen victim to a particularly heartless pyramid scheme.

World Ventures base their pyramid on supposed travel discounts but here’s a simple fact: discounts aren’t products. And anyway, there's no need to pay to join a discount when hotels give them away for free. You can get discounted hotel stays in South Africa but visiting, or these days just use Airbnb where you can find some remarkably cheap places to stay anywhere in the world.

It’s also not a way to make any money, despite the promises of people desperately trying to recruit other members. The latest income figures that I’ve seen that they published for the USA showed that two thirds (actually 68.7%) of all the income went to the 3.7% at the top. The median annual income was a mere $33 (around P330). And that was income, not profit.

I suggest your friend contacts her bank immediately and tells them that the deductions are not authorised and that no further payments should be made.

The battery is dead!

I bought a second hand laptop from a second hand shop in Gaborone. I mentioned to the shop owner that I don’t have electricity yet at my house so I will be charging it at work and use it at home when I knock off. He said his laptops are new from UK and batteries are ok so I dont have to worry.

He showed me the Dell laptop which was in good condition, he plugged in the battery and within a minute the laptop went off and he said he forgot to charge it, but he had demonstrated most of what I needed in a laptop. I asked the seller how long the battery last and he said 1 hour at first, and that wasn’t bad. I then asked him are u sure and he was like maybe 30 minutes. So I handed him 1500 which was charged and I even told him I’m not satisfied about the 30 minutes but hey. I charged the laptop that evening, took it home and it went on for only 2 minutes, 2 minutes! Can u imagine.

I called him the next day to explain and he denied ever saying that it lasts for 30 minutes. And I asked him, why would I take a laptop without a battery when I do not have electricity, the guy denied and said I should read at the back their terms and conditions, which I had done. It stated that incase I return their product they will charge me 25% handling fee, which i did not understand.

I feel robbed.

I agree. You deserve to feel robbed. A laptop battery that lasts for 2 minutes is worthless.

It doesn’t really matter whether a laptop (or anything else) is new or second-hand, it must be as it was described to you. As the Consumer Protection Regulations put it, it must be “as advertised or represented”. It must also be “of merchantable quality” which means “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”. That last bit is important. “in light of the relevant circumstances” means that you can’t expect a second-hand laptop to have the battery life of a brand new one. But it should be usable. It must function reasonably well considering its age. It must also be “fit for any particular purpose made known by the consumer”. You explained that you needed a laptop with decent battery life because you don’t have electricity at home. He knew that from the beginning so there’s no excuse. Send me his contact details and we’ll explain this to him, in terms simple enough that even he can understand it.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Is this a real doctorate?

I have been instrumental in the advancement of youth women and girls in STEM as well as equipping the upcoming generation with business and interpreanuarial skills. I have won numerous awards for my exceptional leaders and being a pioneer in my proffesion. I received an email from the London Graduate School saying I have just been offered a Honorary PhD by the Commonwealth University but they want me to pay a whopping $5,500 to come and get it in Dubai on a top leadership conference.

Can you kindly please sincerely assist with finding the credibility of this people?

As you’re an “exceptional leader” and a “pioneer” already I think you already know the answer, don’t you?

Real PhDs aren’t sold to people, they’re earned. Most doctorates are earned by lots of studying and research and certain exalted individuals are given honorary doctorates but they’re based on exceptional service or achievement. Neither group need to buy them with money.

It didn’t take long to discover that both the London Graduate School and the Commonwealth University are suspicious. To begin with both seem to share the same address at 34 South Molton Street in London, UK. Interestingly, that’s an address they seem to share with 183 other companies. Yes, it’s just a “serviced office space” where anyone can “rent” an office address for just £450. Given that they share an address I think it’s safe to assume that they’re the same organisation, don’t you?

34 South Molton St, London, W1K 5RG
The address of both establishments. You can buy some clothes while you're there.
Image c/o Google Street View
Another curious thing is that while the so-called “Commonwealth University” claims to be based at that address in London their domain is registered to an address in Nigeria. Isn’t that also a bit suspicious?

Update: The so-called "Commonwealth University" claims accreditation from the "International Association for Distance Learning" who offer a London address, "372 Old Street, London EC1V 9AU".

No surprise, this is also an accommodation address.

This seems to be just a money-making scheme. Personally I think it’s also a firm slap in the face to those people who have earned a doctorate the old-fashioned way through years of study, sleepless nights and loss of family time. It’s also an insult those who have been awarded honorary degrees following their service and achievement. The simple truth is that anyone who buys a bogus qualification is as much of a fraud as the bogus qualification they purchase.

Where’s my car?

I bought a car last year in June until today never received it. The guys are always saying before month end every time when I ask.

I paid P28,000 was still to balance them with P10,000 when the car arrive, the whole car was P38,000. We were communicating on WhatsApp. They were suggested by a friend and they have an agent here so tried to talk to him then he said he can't help because I was dealing with them directly.

This is going to be a difficult one. The most difficult problem to overcome is going to be that you don’t have anything in writing that explains when, how and where the vehicle will be delivered. WhatsApp conversations are fine but they’re not nearly as useful as a printed and signed sales agreement.

I think the best situation is to put something in writing now. No more phone calls, no more WhatsApp messages, this needs to be a letter that explains that you gave them the money in June last year, what exactly the money was for and when you expected the vehicle to be delivered. I suggest you make it clear that after eight months they’ve still failed to deliver the car you paid for they have still not provided it and you are now cancelling the deal completely and require your deposit to be returned to you “promptly” as required by Section 15 (1) (e) of the Consumer Protection Regulations. The word “promptly” isn’t precisely defined but if they haven’t given you the money back after maybe 14 days I think you should complain to the Licencing Department in the local council and suggest that their trade licence should be reviewed. That might encourage them to play a little more fairly.

You can also mention that we’re now interested in the case and if they’d like some free publicity in The Voice, just not of the best type, that can be arranged. Send me their contact details!

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Consumer Alert: International Bread Winners

Consumer Alert: International Breadwinners

Consumers are warned that a pyramid scheme calling itself International Bread Winners is actively recruiting people in Botswana.

They describe themselves as “A network marketing business where by u join with P100 and recruit 2 people and they will be registered under u. this 2 people they also recruit their 2 people. Is a business of 2x2. Everyone who joins must bring 2 people. Then u elevate as more people come on board and move stages.”

When asked whether the scheme has any products that are sold, or whether it is based solely on recruiting other members, they are very clear.

Another responded:

When asked, the promoters of the scheme describe the earnings people can make as follows:


TOTAL PAYOUT $280(P2800)
GROCERY $50 (P500)

TOTAL PAYOUT $1540(P15 400)
GROCERY $100(P1 000)

TOTAL PAYOUT $7 000(P70 000)
GROCERY WORTH $200(P2 000)

TOTAL PAYOUT $22 400(P224 000)
FORTUNER WORTH $50 000 (P500 000)
GROCERY WORTH $250 (P2 500)

TOTAL PAYOUT $112 000(P1 120 000)
MERCEDES BENZ WORTH $92 000(P920 000)
GROCERY WORTH $300 (P3 000)

TOTAL PAYOUT $560 000( P5 600 000)
RANGE ROVER WORTH $150 000(P1 500 000)
HOUSE WORTH $300 000( P3 000 000)
GROCERY WORTH $350(P3 500)


They use the following image to describe their "marketing plan":

Section 9 of the 2018 Consumer Protection Act defines a pyramid scheme as:
“where participants in the scheme receive compensation derived primarily from their respective recruitment of other persons as participants”
The key thing is that there is either no product being sold or the product is only a minor part of the business. A pyramid scheme is all about recruiting multiple levels of other people and using their joining money to pay the people above them in the pyramid. Those people recruiting others into International Bread Winners are very clear that there are no products involved, just the recruitment of other people.

The Act goes on to say that people:
“shall not directly or indirectly promote, or knowingly join, enter or participate, or cause any other person to promote, join, enter or participate in … a pyramid scheme”
The penalties for breaking this rule can be a fine of up to P100,000, imprisonment for up to 5 years, or to both.

Consumers are urged not to enter into this or any other pyramid scheme.

Background information

The company suggests that they have an office in London but the address they offer appears to be in a residential complex and the UK telephone numbers they offer are both cellphone numbers. The only other number given is a Botswana-based cellphone number. It also appears that no company called "International Breadwinners" is registered in the United Kingdom.

The domain ("") was first registered to an address in India on 7th January 2019.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Radio show notes - week beginning 18th February 2019

Source: Wikipedia
2019 – 2019 – Predictions revisited

We started 2019 with some predictions of things we felt would happen in 2019. Let's see if they've come true yet.

1. Signing things

People will still sign things they shouldn’t sign, and won’t sign things that they should sign. they won’t read or understand hire purchase, tenancies or loans agreements and, most importantly, investments and insurance contracts. Some will continue to assume (incorrectly) that “verbal” agreements have some value when they later need to take action against someone who has abused them. People will continue to be exploited because of this.

Update: It wasn't really a consumer issue but someone contracted us with a tenancy issue. She'd moved in without signing an agreement. Subsequently the landlord had presented her with an agreement that included a with security deposit (which is normal) but she hasn't yet signed it.  Now the landlord wants to sell property (again that's a normal thing). Should she pay the deposit? Yes, if she wants the assurance of a tenancy and if she wants to stay there if the property is sold. However, if she wants to save some money, she can refuse to sign the agreement. But then she'll have no assurance that she can stay there.

Update: Someone asked: “Can somebody kindly explain to me how car insurance works. We have police report and my insurer says I should pay excess of P3,000?” I bet the "excess" payment is described in detail in the insurance policy. But has he read it recently? Or even at all?

2. Ponzi and pyramid schemes

These scams will continue to promise wealth, comfort and excitement in return for recruiting multiple levels of victims beneath us. But they only one real aim: to make lots of money for the people at the top and at the expense of those lower down. However, they’ll soon face the fact that, for the first time in our history as a nation, their schemes are now illegal. Section 9 of 2018 Consumer Protection Act makes this very clear.

Update: 4 Corners Alliance. I asked one of their recruiters a few questions.

Q: “Do we make money mainly from sales or recruiting.”
A. “From recruiting my dear. But if you want to sell you can still sell and make more”
Q. “But the easiest way is to recruit other people?”
A. “Yes my dear”

4 Corners Alliance is a pyramid scheme.

Update: “International Breadwinners”

They describe themselves as “A network marketing business where by u join with P100 and recruit 2 people and they will be registered under u. this 2 people they also recruit their 2 people. Is a business of 2x2. Everyone who joins must bring 2 people. Then u elevate as more people come on board and move stages.”

This scheme is run in Botswana by a pastor with the close involvement of his wife and daughter. Interestingly the couple were previously promoting Jamalife, another pyramid scheme.

I asked them some questions:

Q. “Do we sell products or do we just recruit other people?”
A. “we dnt sell anything”
Q. “It’s a pyramid scheme?”
A. “nope” (CW begs to differ)

He then said “I’m on duty driving will talk when I’m free.” What sort of duty might that be? It seems that as well as running church, he's a serving police officer.

Update: This has been posted around Facebook, apparently from The President but clearly NOT.

"you just pay the registration fees". That tells you all you need to know.

3. Magical health claims

Peddlers of miracle and magical health claims will find that Botswana is a harder place to sell their dangerous lies. They won’t go away but they will be silenced more quickly thanks to new and more effective regulators.

Update: Green World offer what they call a “medical scanner” otherwise known as the “Quantum Resonance Magnetic Analyser Machine”.

They claim that it can diagnose disorders such as “Anaemia, High blood pressure, Low blood pressure, Nutritional deficiency, Prostate disorder (not cancer), stroke, Low sperm count, hormonal imbalances, erectile dysfunction, ovarian cysts, cardiovascular problems, cerebrovascular problems, bone problems”.

BOMRA, the Medicines Regulatory Authority reported that:
“3 pharmacists were arrested in Francistown for allegedly selling unregistered and potentially harmful contraceptives. The 3 pharmacist (names withheld) were nabbed in a joint operation led by BOMRA inspectors and other law enforcement officers”
They later asked consumer to:
“join us in the fight against counterfeit & unregistered medical products (medicines, medical devices & cosmetics.) Play your part. Blow the whistle!! 0800 600 216”
Green World should beware!

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Is International Breadwinners legit?

Is International Breadwinners legit? People at my church are encouraging me to join but I’m suspicious.

No, it’s not legit, it’s a pyramid scheme and the people doing their best to recruit new members are open about it. Let’s begin by explaining what exactly a pyramid scheme is. Section 9 of the new Consumer Protection Act says that it’s a scheme “where participants in the scheme receive compensation derived primarily from their respective recruitment of other persons as participants”. The key thing is that there is either no product being sold or the product is only a minor part of the business. A pyramid scheme is all about recruiting multiple levels of other people and using their joining money to pay the people above them in the pyramid.

The new Act does on to say that people “shall not directly or indirectly promote, or knowingly join, enter or participate, or cause any other person to promote, join, enter or participate in … a pyramid scheme”. Did you see that it said that as well as forbidding promoting a pyramid scheme is also forbids people from even joining one?

The penalties can be severe. A fine of up to P100,000 or up to 5 years in prison. Or both.

I contacted some of the people recruiting victims into this “International Breadwinners” scheme and they were very open about how it works. I asked whether people sell products or just recruit other people and one of them, apparently a pastor and someone who claims to be a serving police officer was clear. “we dnt sell anything” he told me.

Another, who I believe is his wife, told me that there are “No products. You just get paid by recruiting”.

The people I contacted who are recruiting others in this scheme are open about it being a pyramid scheme. I suspect they will soon stop once they realise that the church they operate and their career in law enforcement are at risk. Do you want to face the same penalties they now face?

Is this a real job?

I got an offer through LinkedIn for a job in Russia from an individual by the name of Alesandr Boris Oil & Gas Limited. He told me of the available job vacancy at the organization which were 3 vacancies and asked me of my qualifications. I replied with my qualifications and he responded saying that I should forward my CV and necessary documents to his agent who will take care of the whole process for me to be able to come and be permitted to work in Russia. He gave me the email address of the agent who I managed to reach and he told me what documents he needs in order to process my permit to work in Russia, including transportation & accommodation. However the agent says that his services are not free and demands a fee of 1000 dollars. I told him and Mr Boris that I can’t afford that kind of money therefore Mr Boris says I should try negotiate with the Agent the amount I can afford of which I haven't done.

I was hoping if you can check if Alesandr Boris, his organization and his agents are not a scam. I had approached the police and they referred me to Consumer watchdog which is where I got your email address.

Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you advance.

I don’t need to do much research to say with certainty that this is a scam. The most obvious clue is that they want you pay the “agent” $1,000 to get your work permit. This is simply not how international recruitment works. Genuine companies pay for everything when they recruit someone from overseas. They pay for flights and accommodation and they certainly cover the cost of getting whatever visas might be necessary. They pay them. Not you, not the recruit.

Another clue is quite simple. Why would they offer a job in the oil and gas industry to someone on the other side of the planet who doesn’t have any experience in that industry? And another thing. They didn’t interview you face-to-face? It’s simply not realistic.

This is the beginning of an advance fee scam. The $1,000 (which is curiously flexible when you say you can’t afford it) is what this is all about. If you were to pay them they’ll just continue to invent a list of other payments until you either run out of money or finally realise that you’re being scammed. I suggest that you delete the emails and any others you receive like this.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Consumer Alert - Planet Online FInance

Consumer Alert - Planet Online Finance

Yet another fake lender running an advance fee scam. They advertise on Facebook as follows:
"Good Day south Africa
Please take your time to read through this post from the first line to the last before making any comments or questions.
We offer loan to blacklisted client,Business persons,Government employee,workers etc and client that are on ITC.
We offer loan to all SADC member states.(Angola, Botswana, Congo (DR), Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe ).
All loan Application are processed and transferred from our office here in south Africa.
PLANET ONLINE FINANCE PTY LTD, Our obligation is helping the needy to gain financial stability in order to meet with the demands of living. Contact us at::([hidden information]) or call us on 0786168532 + Whatsapp Messages
We give out loans from the range of R10,000.00 to R10,000,000.00, at 3% interest rate Our loans are well insured and maximum security is our priority,
PLANET ONLINE FINANCE is a legitimate and well known lending company based in , SOUTH AFRICA.
We offer loans to individuals as well as organizations who have intentions of renovating houses and institutions, debt consolidation, re-financing and also establishment of business outfits. We give out our Loan in an currency of your choice.
* Are you financially Squeezed?
* Do you seek funds to pay off credits and debts
* Do you seek finance to set up your own business?
* Are you in need of private or business loans for various purposes?
* Do you seek loans to carry out large projects
* Do you seek funding for various other processes?
*Commercial Loans.
*Personal Loans.
*Business Loans.
*Investments Loans.
*Development Loans.
*Acquisition Loans .
*Construction loans.
*Business Loans And many More:
1: Color Copy of I.D / Valid Passport
2: Latest 3 Months Bank Statement
3: Latest Payslip, C.K/ Business Profile for Business Loan
4: Latest Proof of Residence.
1. Blacklisted can apply
2. No credit check
3. Debt review or court order can apply
4. ITC can apply
5. other countries outside South Africa can apply
Your Satisfaction and Financial Success is Our Aim.We are hoping to hear from you soon
You can also call us or send message through whatsapp: 0786168532."
The obvious clues include:
  • No landline number, just a cellphone.
  • Not even an email address.
  • No physical address.
  • Astonishingly cheap loans and HUGE amounts of money available.
I contacted these people and asked for a loan of P100,000, based on a monthly salary of P15,000. They responded with:
"Please can you send me ur I'd number along with ur names with ur cell phone number. Let me check if u qualify for a loan in our company".
I responded with a FAKE name and ID number. They responded:
"Let me check if u qualified for ur loan, I will get back to u ok".
Exactly 10 minutes later they said:
"Congregation, ur loan has been approved ok (...) Your monthly installment for 60 months , is 1796.87 Loan interest R 7812.20 Total payment R 107812.20. Your registration fee is R2500. This fee will enable us to register your information in our system and the release of your loan into your bank account. But this fee will be refunded back to you after three working days."
Of course this is what it's all about. The "registration fee" of R2,500.

I asked for their company details and they gave me an incomplete SA company registration number. However, a little detective work showed that no company called "Planet Online Finance" is registered in South Africa and the number they use has also been used before by "Bridge finance loan", an identical loan scam.

Please don't waste your time, money and effort on this scam.