Friday 7 March 2014

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I took a loan in November 2012 which I was to pay for a year and I did just that. The last deduction was in December 2013. I called them on December 17th to enquire about the status of my account and I was told even though I paid the loan in full my account shows a balance of about P5,000 so I had to write a letter to them so that they close the account which I did. I followed them up beginning of January to find out whether it was closed and they told me they were moving offices they’ll do it on 14th January

A lady called me to tell me that they submitted the papers for deductions to salaries late so I should come and pay my monthly installment by hand. I told her I had paid my debt and had talked to someone who promised to close the account then she said she would follow it up and get back to me but she never did. I called them on 14th February to enquire again then I was told that they had already deducted my debt for the month so I should bring my payslip to the office after getting it. I did that on Friday 22nd and they promised by the next day I would have my refund in full. Until now I haven’t gotten anything and they took everything from my salary and I got nothing at all and I’ve got to newborns to take care of. What can I do?

It sounds to me that they’ve comprehensively failed to offer services “with reasonable care and skill” as required by Section 15 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations. If what you say is correct then something has gone very wrong with their record-keeping and you deserve much better than this.

You urgently need to get in touch with the company again and demand a full statement outlining everything you’ve paid them and what they’ve credited to your account. You can then compare that with your records to see where things have gone wrong. If you send us their details we’ll get in touch with them as well to encourage them to help you.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

I bought a pressure cooker at a store in Tsabong in November 2013 at P999 cash price. I told them that I want to pay in three months which is normal treated as cash price. I paid a deposit of P200 then an installment of P300 in December and P150 in January 2014. Now I asked for my balance as I want to clear it. I was told I owe P1,050. I threated to report them and they changed and say I have to pay P648.

I still don't agree with this balance because in actual figures 200 + 300 + 150 = 650. Therefore the balance is P349.

Now they fail to explain why they add extra P300. There can’t be any extra charge because I personal collected my pressure cooker myself so there is no delivery cost.

You’re right, it is common practice for stores not to charge anything extra if you buy something over such a short period of time. However the problem is that even though this has been agreed face to face, consumers are often asked to sign a conventional hire purchase agreement that includes interest charges. They then find themselves expected to pay the store a lot more than they thought they had agreed to.

I assume you still have the agreement you signed in November last year? You need to check what that actually said. Meanwhile we’ll get in touch with the store and see if we can’t get them to see reason.

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