Friday, 10 October 2014

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice #1

I received a mail that reads “I’m Asnah from Malaysia airport security we want let u know that ur parkage is under our custody, we scan it and see what is inside the cheque is against malaysia courie law, u need to goverment tax before we release the parkage to u thanks, we r wait ur reply”

My request is to help me trace if this is a scam?

There’s no doubt about it, this is a scam.

Let me guess what happened. I suspect that you met someone, almost certainly on Facebook, a man, probably in his 30s or 40s who was single and without children and who had a highly paid job that involved a lot of travel. Over a few weeks you and he chatted online, probably every day, about your lives, your desires and your ambitions and because he was so appealing I bet you began to fall for him. He’s charming, flattering to you and sounds very kind. He’s not the most handsome guy in the world but what he lacks in looks he makes up for in kindness and courtesy.

I suspect that he then told you he had to go on a long trip to a faraway country and would be out of touch for a couple of weeks. However he was going to send you a package, probably containing a number of delights. Perhaps a laptop, maybe a new top-of-the-range cellphone and probably even some cash. This package would arrive, he told you, while he was away.

Then you received this message from “airport security” claiming that there’s a payment you need to make in order to receive the package. That’s the first time you become suspicious, if only because of their terrible English.

The bad news is that there is no package, no gifts and no courier company. There isn’t even a friend you met on Facebook. Throughout this period you’ve been communicating with a scammer. All he wants is that payment he’s demanding from you. Whatever else you do, please don’t send anyone any money, you’ll never see it again.

Update: It wasn’t a laptop he promised her, it was an iPad. It’s still a scam though.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2

I got involved in an accident in July, got charged by the police as the guilty party and the person whose car I hit said its fine his insurance will fix, today I get a call from an insurance company telling me I owe them P61,100.67 because they are recovering costs for fixing their clients car. I was never involved shouldn’t I have had a say in choosing the fixer or at least told about the process or options. Will I have to pay all this or is there another way?

Yes, I’m afraid you ARE liable to pay this. The facts are fairly simple. You caused damage to another driver’s car and this cost a lot of money to fix.

Imagine for a moment that the other driver didn’t have insurance. He would have been forced to pay for the repairs himself and I think everyone would agree that he would have been entitled to claim the repair costs back from you.

However the other driver DID have insurance. He had paid the insurance company a monthly premium so that if anything bad happened they would pick up the cost rather than him. That’s how insurance works, it’s about transferring risk to another party, an insurance company.

Because they worked for him and not for you the role of the insurance company was to protect his interests, not yours. They paid for his vehicle to be repaired at their expense and now they want their money back from the guilty party. That’s you. If you'd had a vehicle insurance policy then your insurance company would have paid on your behalf. If you’d had insurance all you would have paid is a couple of thousand, the relatively small “excess” that the policy doesn’t cover.

Yes, insurance seems an expensive thing to have but it's not nearly as expensive as not having it.

I suggest that you contact the insurance company and see if you can come to some agreement about what you can afford to pay. You might be surprised how flexible they’ll be.

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