Sunday 25 November 2012

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I received an email offering me loans from a company called Nature Loans. They say they offer loans from R10,000 to R10,000,000. Can this be real?

No, this is a scam. The clues are fairly simple to spot.

Firstly there’s the obvious one. Lenders don’t email total strangers offering them vast amounts of money. It’s just not the way the financial services sector works.

Then there are the traditional clues. Real companies don’t use just free email addresses and cellphone numbers as their primary contacts. Real companies have their own domain, and use email addresses like and landline numbers. Real companies have reasonably good spelling and grammar. “Nature Loans” breaks all of these rules.

Real companies don’t make extraordinary claims. They certainly don’t claim that they can lend you up to R10 million at an interest rate of a mere 3% like these crooks do.

Finally, companies that claim to be companies in South Africa are actually registered as companies in South Africa. Nature Loans is NOT registered as a company in South Africa.

This is an advance fee scam. At some point before you receive your fictional loan they’ll demand you pay them some fee they’ve invented, inevitably by Western Union. That’s what they’re after, just that money. If by any chance you pay them they’ll do their very best to drag more and more money out of you until you finally realize it’s a scam.

I suggest that you delete the email or, if you’re feeling more daring, send them the rudest reply you can think of. Remember that scammers don’t deserve courtesy!

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

“What is the main purpose of an insurance when taking a loan from a bank? [A question from our Facebook group.]

A number of members of the group responded but the most comprehensive answer came from a banking expert. She said:
“Insurance taken on a loan is called credit insurance. Its purpose is to insure the life of the customer so that the loan gets repaid in the event that the customer dies before it is repaid. It is for the benefit of the bank but the benefit to the customer is that it avoids a claim against the estate for the outstanding balance due. For example, on a home loan, the house could get repossessed if the debt has not been cleared.

Most loans have compulsory credit insurance.”
I’m a big believer in insurance. It can really protect you when disasters happen. While it might seem a lot of money when things are going well, it might save you from ruin when things go wrong. I’ll give a personal example. When I bought a second-hand car from a dealer a couple of years ago I bought an extended warranty on it for P3,000. That extended warranty has since paid me five times that amount when the car needed work. I’ve saved a small fortune.

As our expert says, it’s not always an option. Many companies require you to pay for insurance when you take a loan or buy something on credit. I can understand that when you buy a house but I’m less keen when it comes to buying things like furniture. In that case you really should buy your own household insurance instead of the policy the store demands you take out. It will be vastly cheaper.


Following our appeal last week we’ve had several celebrations of people who deliver excellent service. Viral from Autoworld at Rail Park Mall was celebrated “for going above and beyond” and Michael from their Main branch is “brilliant at his job, he is always smiling, friendly and gives you 110%”. Patience from Air Botswana was also celebrated on our Facebook Group.

We’ve also been told that Tharina at BMS Printers in Broadhurst Industrial is extremely helpful and efficient.

Please keep the celebrations coming. Let us know when you get service that really impresses you. We’ll celebrate them here in The Voice and we’ll also celebrate them with their MD or CEO. Maybe if we all start recognizing the service stars out there excellent service might spread?

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