Friday 10 August 2012

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I ordered a fitted kitchen from a supplier in June and we only had a short time to complete the job. The order was placed when the company agreed to supply after 2 weeks. The colours available were very limited, I chose cream. The kitchen had to be fully paid for before full delivery.

When the kitchen was delivered and partially fitted it became obvious that all the components of the kitchen were different shades of cream. The doors are slightly pink, the fixed panels a yellow shade and the edging is green.

The company has inspected the kitchen and agrees that it is unsatisfactory. The different items were purchased from different suppliers on the basis of cost, and the problem is very common, apparently. The kitchen remains partially fitted. I spoke to the owner and she said she would evaluate different alternatives for sorting out the situation.

My question is do we have to pay for any changes? I have agreed to consider accepting a different, contrasting colour for the doors and left her with my phone number so she could contact me with the alternatives and the cost of those alternatives. It is now more than a week later and I have received no information.

Your advice on this would be appreciated.

Frankly I don’t give a damn whether “the problem is very common” or not. You specifically ordered a fitted kitchen of a particular color and they delivered something different. I’m not a lawyer but this sounds to me to be a breach of contract, unless you knowingly signed something that allowed them to deliver items of colors of their choice, did you? I suspect not.

I suggest that you write them a letter explaining that they have not honored their side of your agreement, that they have breached Section 13 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations which forbids a supplier from delivering something that “does not match any … description given to the consumer”. Remind them that they offered you a cream-colored kitchen, you didn’t get one. It’s very simple.

Give them a few days to come up with a solution otherwise you’ll take any legal action that you consider suitable. If they don’t cooperate then write them another letter saying that you’ll ask for a judgment from the Small Claims Court.

Let me know how they react!

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

I wonder how far do you function as a consumer watchdog? Do you just expose scammers or do you go to an extent of helping the consumer to recover by nailing the scammers and get them prosecuted?

I say this because a day after I nearly lost my money to this scam, I came across your post and tried to warn others of this but unfortunately some had already put their monies in it. They usually come in Francistown to lure many people into the so-called investment. To my surprise, some of them are Batswana who claim that this isn’t a scam and that they have received their returns.

How can these people be nailed?

This email came into us in response to our report on a so-called “investment scheme” calling itself “Three Link Connection”. These people require “investors” to give them P11,800 and they apparently promise that this will double within 4 weeks. As you can imagine this is yet another scam. No genuine, respectable investment scheme can offer this sort of return. This is either a pyramid scheme, or more likely a Ponzi scheme where the joining fees paid by later “investors” are paid to earlier “investors”. In fact there is no investment scheme at all, money just flows from later to earlier victims. Some people at the beginning make a little money but sooner or later they run out of willing victims and it all falls apart.

This particular scheme seems to be a reincarnation of an earlier South Africa scam called “Young Stars Investments”. The founder of that particular scam, Daisy Mogale, was prosecuted in South Africa but it seems like she’s at it again. She’s presumably no longer welcome to do business in SA so has moved north to scam us instead. Why don’t we run her and her dodgy scheme out of town?

Scam update

Have you ever wondered by scams are so obvious to spot? Don’t we all know by now that emails from total strangers offering us vast amounts of money are scams? Aren’t they blindingly obvious?

The surprising news is that’s exactly why they work. Research by a researcher at Microsoft showed that the more ridiculous that opening email is, the fewer skeptical people will reply. Only the truly gullible reply to obvious scams. That opening email acts as a filter for the scammer. The people that reply have already proved themselves to be utterly gullible and naïve. The lesson is never to believe anything you read on your Inbox unless you have a VERY good reason to do so!

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