Saturday 11 March 2023

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Should I cancel the deal?

About 2 months ago I entered into a hire purchase agreement with one furniture store. My financial position since the time I entered into this agreement has changed and I decided to cancel the agreement to lessen my financial burden. I understand as per the hire purchase act I can validly terminate the hire purchase agreement provided I return the goods to the seller.

Now the issue is the seller has not been cooperative in helping me terminate. I asked about the fees and penalties for early termination and she insists I have to pay half of the total amount that was due to be paid at the end of the contract. The value of the goods was P11,798. The total contract price on hire purchase is P21,557. I paid the initial deposit of P,1180, then two months instalments of P899, total of P2,978.

She said I have to pay P10,778.

The hire purchase agreement does not provide for early termination and I'm not sure where I can get an accurate estimate of how much I should pay to terminate. Please assist.

You probably know already what I think about hire purchase. It's a terrible way to buy things. Why? It's expensive and hugely risky. Even if everything goes right and you pay every instalment you'll probably pay twice the cash value of the items you're buying. The small print of the agreement contains something the store will probably forget to tell you, that the goods you're buying don't even belong to you, they belong to the store until you make the final payment. That's why it's called 'hire' purchase. Until that last payment you're hiring the goods.

They'll probably also neglect to tell you that you can't change your mind and walk away from the deal. You certainly can't sell the goods because remember they don't belong to you yet? In your case the numbers they've quoted to allow you to settle are extreme. You're only 2 months into the repayment period of 2 years and they want you to pay 60% of the total contract amount. And don't forget that those amounts are AFTER they have taken your goods back. You'll be paying for something you'll never see again.

My concern is that if you're already in financial difficulty, which is the best choice for you? Either you find almost P11,000 or you keep paying P899 every month for the next 22 months. I suspect the P899 each month might be more affordable. At least you'll eventually own something instead of paying for nothing.

Who opened the policy in my name?

Hello, I am asking for your help. I recently realized that an insurance company has made deductions from my account. Upon requesting them what the deductions were for since I don't have any policies registered with them, I was informed that their agent has opened some policies with my details without my consent.

I called them after receiving my online payslip I was told to call sales to hear about the policy but the number didn't go through so I called again after a few hours and I was told that my policies were opened in November but I didn't sign any document or fill any document to join any policy.

They said my complaint was sent to the relevant office and they will call me. They said it will depend on how many cases they have.

They are currently asking me to cancel the policies which I have no idea of. My view is that I did not sign any contract with them so I can't cancel anything I have no idea of. Please help me as I consider this fraud.

This is completely unacceptable. Instead of asking you to wait for them to deal with other cases, they should be addressing your situation immediately and urgently. A crime has been committed and the insurance company needs to take this matter seriously.

If this agent falsely opened a policy for you then the insurance company need to involve both NBFIRA and the Police.

Update: the consumer was refunded everything and the insurance company told him that the agent had been fired. Is that good enough?

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