Saturday, 22 April 2017

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Must I pay?

I took my car to the dealer on 3rd of April 2017. My car made some noise/sound when driving. I got a call from them that afternoon, and they informed me that they have been able to establish where the noise was coming from, and as such they have to order some parts from South Africa so that they can fix the car, to which I agreed.

On Friday 7th, I received a call them informing me that the car had been fixed and was ready for collection. They gave me an invoice which I signed, and that was covered by the service/motor plan. When I left with the car, I realised that my car still had the same noise but the dealer had already closed.

On Monday I took my car back and I was referred to one of the service managers. We test drived the car together, and he promised that he will make sure that the car is fixed. This afternoon, I got a call from them informing me that they have identified the source of the noise, and that some stones had gone into some part of the wheel, and they are the source of the noise. He further informed me that they have to open it up, and remove them, and I will have to pay since that is not covered by the motor plan.

Now my concern is that I cannot be made to pay for the same thing twice. I signed an invoice of around P3500, which was taken care of by the motor plan, and now I have to pay cash again for something that they failed to fix on Friday 10th. They ordered parts and attended to something that was not the problem, and now that they have identified the real problem they want me to pay. Kindly advice if I have to pay again or not. I am a bit confused right now.

I’m also a bit confused. You didn’t pay for the original work they did, did you? That was covered by the motor plan and didn’t actually cost you anything at all. Or am I missing something?

If they’d correctly discovered the problem the first time they would have asked you to pay for it because it wasn’t covered by the motor plan, wouldn’t they? Either way you would have been responsible for the repair work they did. All you’ve suffered is the inconvenience of losing your car for several days when they fixed a non-existent problem.

Yes, in answer to your question, I do think you need to pay for the work they plan to do.

I want my debt repaid!

I don't know if this falls under your scope of work or action. I have engaged a debt collector to collect debt from someone. The amount is around P3000 and I paid P500 for the service.

The whole amount was paid to the debt collector but he have since failed to pass the money to me. I engaged him by October 2016 and they had promised to have closed the case by December 2016. He is no longer taking my calls or even replying to my sms.

Thus I don't know if you can offer me any assistance in such a matter.

It’s ironic, don’t you think, that you might need to hire a debt collector to chase a debt collector?

Part of the problem with debt collectors is that the industry is entirely unregulated. Unlike many other industries that have a body like NBFIRA overseeing them, debt collectors are entirely uncontrolled. They’re not like deputy sheriffs where there are strict rules about their conduct. Anyone can call themselves a debt collector and start collecting money on other people’s behalf.

It’s one of the few areas where I think there’s needs to be some intervention from Government. We hear so many times exactly the same story as you’ve told. Debt collectors take money from their clients such as you and then appear to do precisely nothing to earn it. I understand that they might be doing work behind the scenes but they need to give you some sort of report about that. You’re entitled to regular updates on the progress they’ve made and some indication of when you’ll get the money you’re owed back.

First we need to find the guy. Send me his contact details and I’ll do my best private eye impression. If we can find him we’ll threaten him with debt collectors, the Smalls Claims Court, The Voice and anything else we can think of that might frighten him into doing the decent thing.

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