Thursday, 27 January 2011

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I hope you can help me and my wife with a problem with our bank. My wife got a loan from the bank through the government property advance scheme, GEMVAS. She paid off her loan in 2003 but she neglected to "change the ownership" of the vehicle by getting a bank clearance letter from the bank and taking it to the Department of Transport who would have removed that entry on the vehicle registration book which says “Financial interest: Government of Botswana”.

Recently we have been trying to dispose of the car and of course we cannot do this until ownership is changed into her name. The bank won’t produce the clearance letter because apparently they cannot recall her car loan account that far back due to some new filing system. Effectively the car remains the government property as she still could be owing money to the bank.

The bank repeatedly insinuates it is her fault for not remembering the account number, not keeping the bank statements and not requesting for the clearance letter when the matter was still fresh in their minds.

While we admit our mistake, I am sure we are being unfairly treated here. Firstly, we all know how infrequently the banks sends out bank statements and we find ourselves having to go to the banks to request for statements. Secondly, surely the bank ought to have a simple inventory of all those who owe them and they should be able to know who owed them what no matter how old the loan? We have been to the Ministry of Finance and the new company which administers GEMVAS (UNIGEM) and they both insists the bank ought to be able assist us as they are the ones who loaned the money. Mr Watchdog we are at our wits end. How can you help?

My first reaction is that we can’t help with a bank as catastrophically useless as this one. This is utterly incompetent.

Excuses about having changed their filing system are simply not relevant. I also think it’s not good enough (as well as very rude) to suggest that it’s all your fault. Remember that you were PAYING the bank to lend you that money, they are obliged to give you a decent service. You are not being unreasonable when you ask for a record of a loan even if ti was a few years ago.

We’ll get in touch with the bank and see what they have to say for themselves. Readers will notice that I haven’t named the bank but rest assured I certainly will do if this cock-up isn’t fixed quickly.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

can you please help me i am a student that is experiecing great problems over nothing
i first started when i failed the module which they say is a prerequisite, but having failed it i retook the module again so that i can finish my tuition. According to them i can not procceed to the next level without passing that very module. i have been re doing it and now my marks are mixed up fist of all i failed the module that i haven't done, my marks for the retake have been withheld and the whole protocol has been skewed up
do you thing you can help me

[Note to Voice readers. I haven’t corrected the spelling, grammar or typing of this one. I hope this student isn’t studying English. Or typing. Please say it isn’t Law?]

If I’m right, your problem is that you’ve repeatedly failed a particular module of your course and the establishment you’re attending won’t let you go any further until you pass it?

I’m sorry but that’s just normal practice, isn’t it? In most courses I’ve ever known it’s made quite clear how the course works at the beginning. If there are rules about passing certain modules they would have been explained to you. I’m sorry but I don’t think there’s much we can do to help with this.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #3

I have just received an E mail informing me that my mobile phone has won me the sum of $2,000,000 in on going free lotto promotion. It goes on to say for claims I should E-mail & call +447024061573.

What kind of a scam would this one be and how would they have picked my name? It is more interesting to win a lotto you have never participated in. Please warn those who might fall victims of this. Thanking you in advance.

NB. I have not responded and I am not intending to. If I am to respond I intend to tell them all the nasty words I can think of. Would that be harmful to me?

Yes, as you suspect this is certainly a scam. It’s a free email address, a UK cellphone number and above all you can’t win a lottery you haven’t entered!

Your other question is interesting. How DID they get your email address? I suspect that your email address is available on the internet somewhere and the scammers have “trawled” the internet for millions of email addresses and they’ve contacted them all. It’s interesting that we get loads of scam emails to the Consumer Watchdog email address, which can be found over 5,000 times on the internet, and I get precisely none to my personal email address which I never place on the internet anywhere.

Lastly, no, I don’t think it would do any harm if you respond to them but it won’t do any good. It might be fun though! How often to you get to tell someone that they are a ****?

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