Saturday, 7 March 2015

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

A recruitment scam warning

I have applied for a job outside in Australia by the company called Princess Cruise Line. So these guys accepted my application and offered me the job as a hotel night auditor. They send me a contract letter to sign and send it back to them as they are processing my workers permit. Now they said I must get international crew certificate (ICC) that will enable you to work in Australia Maritime Industry. Please confirm with me for the honesty of this company.

This is a scam.

This really isn’t how cruise line companies recruit staff. In fact this isn’t how ANY company recruits staff. It’s very simple: no genuine company ever offers jobs to people they haven’t interviewed. These days it’s possible to be interviewed by anyone from any place in the world using tools like Skype but I bet this didn’t happen in your case, did it?

Another thing to remember is that recruitment companies don’t charge potential recruits money to recruit them, they get paid by the company hiring staff. Also there’s no such thing as an “International Crew Certificate” in the cruise line industry, they’ve just made that up to scam you.

We’ve seen many recruitment scams like this one over the years. Sometimes it’s for a job in a fancy hotel somewhere glamorous, others times a ridiculously highly-paid job in the oil industry and quite often it’s for a job on a cruise liner like this one. The clues are always there if you look hard: unrealistically high salaries, amazing conditions and often no tax to be paid. They are simply too good to be true.

Always with these recruitment scams there will soon be a demand for you to pay for something, presumably in your case for this fake certificate, very often it’s for a visa. Please don’t send these scammers any money. You’ll never see it again!

Do I owe them?

Please help me understand this. I opened an account with a furniture store in 2010 while I was a student. After finishing school I could not afford to pay the instalments as I am still unemployed. I owed P3,000 at that time. Last week someone contacted me and said I owe them P7,000 and I was told to start paying P300 every month. He then sent the account number, so I am wondering why don’t I pay at any branch of the store as it used to be? And what do I do if I still can’t afford to pay that amount monthly?

I imagine that the person who called you was a debt collector engaged by the store to chase you for the money you owe them.

If you stop paying your debts to a furniture store (or indeed any company to which you owe money) then they’ll quickly contact you to remind you to pay. They are normally very quick at doing this because that’s how they make money. Your store credit, hire purchase or club card payments are the most important source of income to most furniture stores. As the Managing Director of one of them told me years ago, “We’re not really a furniture store, we’re a moneylender.”

However you have a right to know exactly what you owe them and how they can justify a debt of P7,000 considering that you owed P3,000 when you stopped paying. You can’t avoid repaying them but you are entitled to a full breakdown of the debt and you have a right to check it’s not more than double the capital amount you owed. The “in duplum” rule gives you that protection and we need to check they’re obeying that.

I suggest you get a statement from them and we’ll take it from there and you can then negotiate a repayment plan with them that you can afford.

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