Thursday, 20 May 2010

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I bought a touch screen cell phone on the 19th December 2009, which cost P2,995 and I was given a warranty of six months. Six days ago the phone failed to respond when I touched the screen and I went to the store to complain about the problem. They told me that the touch pad has a problem but they cannot repair it because they do not attend to such problems even though the phone is still under warranty. They never informed me about that nor was it included in the items not covered by the warranty when I bought the phone.

What can I do?

You can go back to the store and explain that they are simply not permitted to do this. If there is part of the phone that isn’t covered by the warranty they have to explain this to you BEFORE you buy the phone. You also have to specifically consent to that as well. It’s not good enough just to say they can’t fix it and they don’t have to. I suggest you go back to the store and tell them, in writing, that they have breached Sections 17 (1) (d), (e) and (f) of the Consumer Protection Regulations 2001 and that if they don’t fix this phone or give you a working replacement they’ll see themselves named in The Voice.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

There is a company at Molapo Crossing that say they help people by finding jobs and schools for them abroad. You pay them a service fee but you also have to pay your travel fees and accommodation fees and they process everything for you. Please help me find out if they are legit. I had been referred to them by a friend who had said many people had been successful using them but I am just not trusting it.

I think you are right to be very suspicious about any company that makes this sort of offer. There are some legitimate companies that help arrange these things but for every legitimate one there seems to be a lot of crooks. In fact you’re not the first person to question this particular company. Some months ago we had a complaint that this company had taken almost P10,000 from someone and not given them anything in return.

I suggest you give them a miss.

We haven’t had a chance yet to talk to the company you named but rest assured we will do!

More hacked emails

Last week we reported on a number of people who had received emails from their friends or relatives who appeared to be stranded in foreign countries, desperate for money and asking for help. Of course these were scam emails, their friends were at home, unaware that their email accounts had been hacked.

More of these emails have come in since last week, there’s an epidemic of this scam at the moment. Be warned! Don’t respond to any of them, they’re just after your money.

So how does it happen? How does someone lose control of their email account? The sad news is that they don’t lose it; they actually give it away. The victim has almost always voluntarily given their password to a total stranger, consciously, without coercion and without a gun to their head. It’s remarkably easy to do. Here’s how.

Last week a reader sent us an email they had received entitled “Apply To Avoid ATM CARD Suspension Now !!!”. It said:
Due to the on-going Identity Theft we ask you to apply for your ATM CARD(s) Upgrade now to avoid suspension of your account , open the below link to upgrade your account.
CBN Nigeria”
Of course the recipient of the email didn’t have a bank account in Nigeria but I’m sure you can imagine that someone more gullible than you might have clicked on the link the email provided.

If you looked closely at the link you could see that it actually linked to a web site hosted in Argentina but you would need to look very closely to see that. The web site you then see was remarkably like what you might expect the Central Bank of Nigeria web site to look like. It showed a fairly simple form that demanded your name, email address and password and your bank card number and PIN. Once you entered these details (don’t worry, I entered fake details) you got a response thanking you for your details. Simple as that, you’ve given away your banking details and your email address and password.

As soon as they have these details they can get into your email account and get up to their fraudulent tricks.

The solution is simple. Never, EVER enter your email passwords anywhere other than your email site. Also, never enter your ATM PIN anywhere online. Never.

An appeal

Which company in Botswana gives you really dreadful service on the telephone? Let us know who you think sucks on the phone and we’ll phone them, record their abysmal service and then send a recording to their CEO or MD. Let’s demonstrate how bad things are to those who have the power to do something about it!

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