Saturday 22 April 2023

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

What can I do with this car?

Please I need your help. We bought a second hand car last month for P26,000 from a workshop in Mogoditshane and the guy promised us that everything is fine with the car but later it started to give us problems. At first he denied but he ended up accepting that yes the car has a problem but he told us we have to fix it and nothing can be done. So far we have spent something like P3,000 to fix the car
so we are losing money everyday trying to fix this car.

We failed to change the blue book because we discovered that the car is flagged by the Police. Sir we need your help to get our money back please.

Is there anything good about this car? Not only was it sold to you falsely when the seller told you it was in good condition but the guy has no intention of fixing the situation. And then it seems the car is flagged by the Police for offences either committed by the seller or the people he bought it from. This is a complete mess.

You need to take action quickly. Firstly, I think you should tell the seller in very simple terms that you reject the sale given the deception you experienced. I know you've already spent money on fixing some of the problems but we have no idea what else might be wrong with the vehicle. I don't think you should take the risk that some other fault might be discovered.

I suggest you write the seller a letter giving him maybe 7 days to refund the purchase price AND the P3,000 you spent fixing the vehicle. Make it clear to him that he deceived you and hid the fact that the car had a history with the police.

There are several lessons here that I think everyone who wants to buy a car should learn. Firstly, we should always get a second-hand car inspected by an expert before we buy it. Most of us know a mechanic who would check out a car for us in return for a few drinks or breakfast. If we don't I'm sure the last mechanic who serviced your previous car or your Mum's car would take a look in return for a few beers. Secondly, please always insist that anyone selling you a car puts in writing that the car is in working order. Then you have something to use against them if things go wrong.

Is this harassment?

I need your advice. I received an automated text from my bank to pay my outstanding loan bill. Then I got a call from someone at some attorneys, who I believe is collecting on behalf of the bank. I acknowledged my debt and stated I will organise myself and get on with it.

What I have a problem with is how they call every day. More than 5 times they will call asking if I have paid. I find this annoying, more so I did tell them I don't have the money now, but will pay soon as I can.

Secondly, who determines how much I should pay? The gentleman asked me, and I told him I can afford P1,000 since I'm unemployed now, but he says it's not enough, and if I don't settle the P26,000 in less than 6 months, they will send Sheriffs after me.

I just want to know how to handle this without getting myself into more trouble?

Firstly let me say I respect you for acknowledging the debt. So many people do their best to avoid their responsibilities but you are doing the honest, responsible, grown-up thing.

I have a problem with how this attorney operates. And so does the law. Section 6 (1) of the Consumer Protection Act says that a supplier, such as your bank and the attorneys representing them may not use:
"force, coercion, undue influence, pressure, duress, harassment, unfair tactics or any other similar conduct against a consumer" (in the) "execution or enforcement of an agreement to supply any goods or services". 
Clearly calling you five times a day is harassment. It's also coercion, pressure and duress. It's not acceptable. Yes, of course they're entitled to remind you, encourage you and legally require you settle your debt but the law says they have to be decent about it. I'll contact the bank and see if they can better control their dogs, sorry, I meant attorneys.

The best thing you can do is to get some debt counselling to see if you can sort out your finances. I'll send you the details of someone I trust.

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