Friday, 15 June 2012

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I received an email from the Sheraton Heathrow Hotel with a list of vacancies and wages. They say that they will pay for the flights, accommodation and feeding for successfully shortlisted applicants. Is true or is it a scam?

The Sheraton Heathrow Hotel at London’s main airport is indeed a genuine hotel but that’s the only true thing in the email you received.

To begin with the salaries they offer in the email simply aren’t believable. The email says that a housekeeper will earn £950 per week which comes to over P500,000 per year. A security guard will earn more than that and a cook even more. The email suggests that an “Accounting Officer” can earn P850,000. This is simply not credible.

This is a scam. You can rest assured that sooner or later the scammers would demand a payment from you, an “advance fee”. In this case it would probably be a legal fee or the price of a visa, something like that. It would probably be a fairly modest amount, perhaps $500-$1,000, the sort of amount that would be plausible if the services were genuine. They’ll demand payment not by online banking, a telegraphic transfer or a posted cheque but by Western Union.

You’ll never see that money again. What will probably happen, when the scammers know you’re a successful victim, is that they’ll conjure up another story to get even more money from you. All of this money will forever be lost. Nothing in the story they tell you is genuine. Just delete the email and forget about it.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

I went to a shop on 4th June around 14:00hrs and handed my goods at the parcel counter and was issued a counter card. I went into the shop to do my groceries however on my way out I discovered that the parcel counter number is no longer in my possession meaning that it has been lost inside the shop. I went to tell the security personnel about the card and he told me that I need to pay P10 for the lost parcel counter to redeem my parcels. I told him that I don’t have the said amount and he directed me to the shop supervisors. I pleaded my case before the supervisors but was told that it was the store policy and there is nothing they can do to assist. I tried to explain that the parcels I had are in fact perishable food stuff and may not necessarily wait for the next day while I try to get P10 but could not get any help. I left the store and left my possessions behind.

The Question that I need to ask you is do I need to pay to redeem my possessions? Do I have the right to my possession in their parcel counter with or without their parcel counter number?

This is ridiculous. This clearly isn’t the first time that someone’s lost their card, otherwise the store wouldn’t have a procedure like this. However it seems unbelievably inflexible for them not to be able to come up with a plan when a situation like yours emerges.

While I understand that the store might be wary of people just taking parcels that they don’t own, how does the P10 payment prevent that? It would be worth P10 for a thief to take a bag they liked the look of, wouldn’t it? Surely the sensible approach would be for the store to ask you what the bag contained so you could prove it was yours? I’m sure you would have been able to identify most of the items in the bag.

At least that way they wouldn’t have made themselves look like idiots.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #3

Please help. If your employer sponsors you for further studies, do they have a right to withhold your certificate or diploma and refuse to give it to you when you no longer work for them? If not, what are the procedures to get your certificate?

This is just wrong. YOU obtained the qualification, didn’t you? Was it you that sat the exams, did the tests and did all the hard work? Of course your employer paid for it and they’re probably entitled to hold you liable for some of the costs if you leave soon after getting the qualification. Many organisations do this, they “bond” you for a period after getting a qualification that they paid for. If you choose to leave during the bond period you have to pay them back some of the costs. That’s reasonable, but holding onto your certificate or diploma is wrong, wrong, wrong.

I suggest that you write to the employer and demand what you earned. Copy the letter to the establishment who awarded you the qualification as well. If that doesn’t work get in touch again and we’ll apply some muscle!

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