Friday 15 July 2016

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Is this loan real?

I received an email from offering me a loan offer from Swiss Financial Group Loan Department Easypay Loan Services.

They said “We are private investors operating in several areas (Banking, Finance, Insurance). We have the legitimate ambition to invest in all business in any country economically and politically stable, whose laws and regulations protect and secure foreign investors. It is for all these reasons that we want a frank and sincere collaboration in all profitable activities in the private or public sector. We are willing ? finance any individual or private or public company who desires it. Our finances are between 500,000 Euros minimum and maximum 500 million Euros at a fixed interest rate of 3% per year.”

Do you think this is real?

No. This is undoubtedly the beginning of a scam.

The clues are there. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, real lenders don’t approach potential customers like this, by email and without knowing their name. Lenders suggesting they’re in Switzerland certainly don’t do so from a free email service based in Latvia (did you see the .lv at the end of the email address?).

It’s also unbelievable. Real lenders don’t offer vast amounts of money (500 million Euros is about P6 billion) at ridiculously low interest rates. They simply don’t. They also don’t lend across borders and indeed continents as easily as these people say they do.

There’s the issue of language quality. Do you really think that a company that offers billion Pula loans can’t express itself properly in English?

This is actually the beginning of another advance fee scam. Sooner or later, probably just before the day they’ve convinced you that you’re about to get the money, they’ll demand a last-minute fee of some sort. Sometimes it’s a legal fee, other times a tax or duty payment. Whatever it is, that’s the “advance fee” that gives the scam its name.

Just delete the email and any others like it.

Can I get my money back?

I made a booking online with to a hotel yesterday and the system requested me to input my banking details so to keep a reservation for me and it went ahead and debited my account P940. When I tried to cancel the money has gone already. I tried getting hold of the hotel and I was taken from pillar to post till this morning I spoke to the owner and she made it clear to me she won’t refund me as I needed 5 days to cancel. My issue was where would I get 5 days from if the booking was for that day and when I was requested for banking details it so I make a reservation?

I’ve spoken to the hotel in question and also looked at the web site you used to book the hotel and unfortunately there’s not much that can be done. The hotel’s cancellation policy is that you get a full refund if you cancel a booking more than five days before you stay. After that nothing is refunded and they’re not prepared to reconsider that. I don’t know for certain but the hotel might have lost a booking from another customer because you cancelled your booking. is also very clear. As you go through the booking process you see a warning saying “You can cancel free of charge until 5 days before arrival. You will be charged the first night if you cancel in the 5 days before arrival.” It also says: “100 percent of the first night will be charged at least 5 days before arrival.”

I know it’s frustrating that there weren’t five days between you booking and your planned arrival but that isn’t really the hotel’s fault, is it? I know a lot of hotels only actually charge you when you check out but a lot do demand some financial commitment up front to hold the booking, particularly if you’re booking online.

Sorry I don’t have better news.

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