Friday, 2 August 2013

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I need your help. My company was paid by cheque by one customer who claimed to be a director of his company for supply of 6 air conditioners for the sum of P32100. We used the money after it was cleared. A day later I got a SMS from the bank stating that the cheque was unpaid. I went to the bank to enquire and they told me that the cheque book was stolen and that my account is overdrawn and that we should pay back the money. Is it my fault to have used the money? Who should be responsible for the overdraft, me or the bank?

Neither. The person who should be responsible for the overdraft is the person who stole the chequebook and who then stole your money.

However, as you know, life isn’t that simple.

I don’t want to sound unsympathetic because I truly am, you’re the victim of a crime, but has the bank actually done anything wrong? They received a cheque that they thought was legitimate, then discovered rather quickly that it wasn’t and then tried to reverse the situation. It’s not really their fault that you spent the money before they discovered the crime.

Given the circumstances I think there are several things you can do. Firstly you can call the police and report the customer for fraud and passing a bad cheque. Give them all the details you have on the crook that stole your money. You should also contact the company whose chequebook it was and see if they have any information that might help you and the police find him.

Then I suggest you get in touch with the bank and see if they can’t be a little more flexible. They need to understand that you’re a victim of a crime and perhaps allow you some time to sort things out. Although you spent money that wasn’t actually yours, you did so in good faith. You weren’t trying to con anyone, you’re not a criminal, you’re a victim. If you like we’ll get in touch with them as well.

Don’t forget to call the police and get them involved.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2
I got married last year September and engaged a local company to do our photography and video. He demanded that we pay the full amount before the event, which we did and he promised to deliver 2 weeks after the wedding. When we tried to contact him after the 2 weeks he told us that he moved offices and even up to now he cannot tell us where he moved to. Most of the time when we call him he does not take our calls or he will tell us he is out of town and will promise to meet us when he comes and he has never fulfilled it.

We requested several times to meet with him and he never availed himself. I doubt if he still has the video and the photos. We requested him to refund us and still he never did. We booked a venue for P1,000 for the photo shoot and we do not have a single photo. Can I claim this money from him as well? Please assist us.

What is it with so many people that offer wedding services? Almost every week we have a complaint about this sort of thing, more often than not a photographer who lets someone down badly. Weddings are meant to be special days, aren’t they? I don’t understand how people can behave this badly on such special occasions.

We’ll get in touch with the photographer and see what he has to say for himself. Maybe we’ll have some luck. If not I suggest that you get all your facts together and assemble any paperwork you have and prepare for a trip to the Small Claims Court to see if you can get your money back. I’m not a lawyer but I suspect you might be able to claim back the cost of the venue as well. Give it a shot!

Finally, rest assured that if this isn’t sorted out soon he’ll find his company name recognised all over the place as one who fails people on their wedding day.

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