Saturday 11 July 2020

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Must I pay them?

I bought a laptop at some shop at Game City the past Sunday. When I get home I installed programs inside and I noticed it doesn’t have a CD drive, of which I wanted the one with CD drive. Then on Monday I called the shop to explain so that I could return the laptop, they asked me to come to the shop.

I only installed the word and excel on the laptop, I sent my sister to return the laptop since I stay far, but they didn’t refund her but she left the laptop with them. They said they want me to come. They said they will refund me and charge me P500 because I installed office word on it.

So what I am asking is can I get a refund from the shop because they say they don’t have a laptop in store that have a CD drive? And is it even allowed for them to charge me that much?

These days you’ll see that many laptops don’t have CD or DVD drives, particularly the smaller, more portable ones. In 2020 software is often installed by downloading installers from software company web sites, not the old-fashioned way by using an installation DVD.

I think this all depends on how the store described the laptop when you bought it. Did they say it had a CD drive? Did any advertisement or product packaging say it had a CD drive? Did you tell them that’s what you wanted?

However, I don’t understand this story about wanting to charge you P500 for installing your software. Firstly, that should have been something you did before you returned it and secondly, it shouldn’t take them much effort to uninstall the software. If you send me details of the store I’ll get in touch with them and see if they can be a bit more adaptable.

How can I spot a scam?

There are several pyramid and Ponzi schemes active right now and they’re doing their best to recruit people by promising them vast profits.

Crowd1 is still very active, despite either being declared illegal or consumers being warned to avoid it in various countries around the world.

Right now, people are also desperately trying to recruit people into a “WhatsApp gifting” scam that promises to multiply the money people pay to join. Both are nothing more than scams that rely on gullible victims joining and then recruiting multiple levels of other victims beneath them. Several readers contacted me asking me to repeat the clues I gave a few weeks ago about how to spot these scams.

Whenever someone invites you to join their money-making scheme, ask yourself WHY they’re inviting you. If they’ve found a way of making money, why are they sharing it with you instead of keeping it to themselves? The answer is very simple. Anyone inviting you to join their scheme is trying to make money FROM you, not WITH you.

Another clue is products. Real businesses have products and services. Scams don’t. Or if they do, or they only pretend to have them, but they don’t really matter. They are primarily interested in recruiting other people and then getting them to recruit even more. You’ll often hear the promoters of these schemes defend themselves by insisting their scheme isn’t a pyramid scheme because there are products. Others will say it’s legitimate because anyone can earn more than the people above them in the pyramid. That’s all just excuses. What matters most is the word “primarily”. Section 9 of the Consumer Protection Act says that if “participants in the scheme receive compensation derived primarily from their respective recruitment of other persons as participants” then it’s a pyramid scheme. It’s not difficult.

There are also some key words you should look for. One is Bitcoin. As I’ve said in the past, Bitcoin is a legitimate but very high-risk cryptocurrency that is a fascinating vision of how money might work in the future. However, it must never be seen as an investment and it’s surrounded by a huge number of scams, pyramid schemes and Ponzi schemes. A good example was BitClub Network, whose founders are being prosecuted in the USA for running a scam that stole $722 million from victims around the world. That actually had no connection to Bitcoin at all, it was just an enormous Ponzi scheme and there were plenty of victims in Botswana.

The simplest lesson is to be skeptical. Don’t believe anyone who claims you can make large amounts of money with little effort or just by recruiting other people. Anyone who claims this is either lying, deluded, na├»ve or desperate. Don’t believe it!

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