Saturday, 18 August 2018

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Must I pay again?

I have been dealing with a certain garage and I feel they are ripping me off. My car was spilling fuel and I took it to them they said it was a pipe that was loose. They repaired the pipe and charged me P950, P650 being for towing and P200 for tightening the pipe. A week later it did the same and I took it back to them and they said the pipes were blocked and they wanted to charge P300 which I contested and they let me go. Now it has done the same after a week of so. They now say the pipes need to be replaced. I bought the pipes yesterday and they now want to charge me P650 for replacing the pipes I bought for P60. My issue now is they are charging me for the job they have charged me for again. They could have noticed that the pipes were old the first time I took the car to them. Please advise?

This might be a difficult one.

Section 15 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations requires that a supplier of a service must deliver those services “with reasonable care and skill”. The next section also states that the supplier has broken the rules if he or she “quotes scientific or technical data in support of a claim unless the data can be readily substantiated”. I get the impression that your mechanic might have failed to satisfy both of these requirements. He wasn’t able to fix the problem and is now making claims that he might not be able to justify.

However, the trouble is that he can claim, and this might even be true, that he was doing his best when he repaired the pipe and that he genuinely believed, based on his skills and experience, that it would fix the problem. I’m no expert on cars but I know that complicated technical matters can be very difficult to diagnose and fix. That goes for vehicles but also for computers, household appliances and even medical issues. The initial diagnosis isn’t always the final one.

I suggest that you should compromise. Why not suggest that, given that his initial suggestion didn’t work, he needs to be a bit more flexible rather than just run up a huge bill for you? If he fails to cooperate, then maybe we can escalate things a little.

They broke my phone!

I was in a supermarket and I picked a few items and I went to the till point to pay then I put my phone on top of the counter because I wanted to get money from my pocket. Then after she scanned 2kg washing powder she put it the counter and it pushed my phone and it fell and the screen got broken. I told the cashier she broke my phone and she said sorry and went on to say you were not suppose to put your phone on top of the counter. I said where is it written? She said its not written anywhere! I took seconds looking at the phone and the same cashier who broke my phone told me to move because I’m delaying people behind me who wants to pay. I told her how can you say that to me? You destroyed my phone what should I do she said she doesn’t know. Thats when I took the matter to the manager. So yesterday the manager called me and told me the fault is fine and they can’t fix my phone just like that. What can I do?

I suspect there’s not much you can do. I spoke to the management of the supermarket chain and their position was simple. They spoke to their staff and told me that because you were the one who placed your phone on the counter, a space reserved for shopping, that you were to blame for the damage to the phone. Their argument is that a consumer would have known the risk of putting a phone amongst shopping that was being scanned.

Unfortunately, while this might not seem very sympathetic by the store, I suspect it’s reasonable. The counter is a place for shopping to be moved around, not somewhere you place something as important and valuable as a cellphone. Sorry!

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Radio show notes - week beginning 6th August 2018

Source: Wikipedia
1. Is Bitcoin a pyramid scheme 

No, but it attracts them.

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, discussed many times before.

The problem is that it's surrounded by a vast number of scams, pyramid schemes, Ponzi schemes and fake cryptocurrencies such as Pipcoin, Billcoin, OneCoin, DasCoin.

If you want to experiment with these new technologies then do so. They're probably the future of money but they are currently very high risk. As with any speculations, you should only spend what you can afford to lose.

2. Is BPC stealing from us?

People are complaining about electricity costs, suggesting that the are much more expensive then ever before. Some ever suggest that Botswana Power Corporation are "stealing" our money somehow. Can this be true? Or are we using much more electricity than normal?

Firstly, BPC prices went up significantly in April.

Secondly, it's winter. It takes more energy to heat things and then to maintain a fixed temperature and more still to maintain those temperatures when the surroundings are colder. It's a matter of physics.

Thirdly, BPC have a banded pricing system. The first 200 kWh are priced at one level (currently P0.6993), then, once that quantity has been consumed, the price goes up to a high level (currently P0.9711). Not only does the cost increase when you consume more electricity, the price per unit does as well.

Fourth, and this is just conjecture, I suspect that our perceptions of electricity consumption have changed since prepaid meters were introduced.

Add all these together and I think it's easy to understand what it seems that prices have gone up so much. But no evidence that there's a sinister conspiracy to "steal our money".

3. Should stores have toilets?
“I want to understand - aren't customers supposed to be assisted with toilets in shops? I was once denied use toilet in one of the reputable shops. Today I got to one of the big shops, I was told it was for staff only. After begging for use of toilet through the manager I was let use it. I got to yet another store at I asked for toilet, I was told I should be searched before I could be allowed to use the bathroom and after telling them I would rather leave than submit to such demeaning treatment I was allowed use of toilet. My issue is are customers not supposed to have access to such important facilities especially at malls or shopping complexes, even if they can be pay toilets?”
Stores probably not, mainly for security reasons. Shopping centers? Yes? And yes, they should be free because we are already paying for them in the prices we pay the stores who then pay their rent to the shopping center.

4. Inter African Investment and Loan Company



Does it really need explaining?

5. Unknown callers
“Someone called me today from South Africa that they have been engaged to do a back ground check on my company. I requested them to send me an email including their details and also those of their principal who has sent them so I can also do a background check on them. They have not responded up to now. Please advise what should I do, tried to call the number but it goes unanswered but charges.”
How do you know the person calling is real? Adopt the approach this consumer used. Demand their ID first. Otherwise who knows who's really calling.

6. Can I return things?

A consumer bought a sewing machine for P13,500 in 2016.
“I returned back to them a week after buying, upon returning it,the manager refused to take it back saying once you have bought something from them you can't return it which is not written on the receipt.”
She went to the Consumer Protection Unit, who encouraged both parties to engage in dialogue. The store agreed to take it back and sell it on her behalf. Eventually managed to sell for P9,600 but
“they never consulted with me about the price they are planning to sell it for.”
Furthermore, the store now says they're taking a 20% charge, leaving her with a balance or around P7,000.

Firstly, did she even have the right to change her mind? No, unless the item she bought was not “of merchantable quality” of if the store deceived the consumer somehow. There's no right to change your mind.

Meanwhile, there is good news. During the dialogue the store agreed, in writing that they would only sell the item if she agreed to the selling price and that they wouldn't deduct anything from that amount.

Simple.

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Is Bitcoin a pyramid scheme?

Hello Richard is bitcoin a pyramid scheme?

I need to begin by explaining what Bitcoin is. Bitcoin is a currency, but not like any currency we've seen before. It's a “cryptocurrency”, a digital currency. There are no coins or notes with Bitcoin, nothing you can put in your wallet or purse. Bitcoins exist purely in cyberspace and that’s one of the things that confuses people. What’s also confusing is the terminology used when people talk about Bitcoin. They talk about things like the "blockchain", the "distributed ledger" and "Bitcoin mining", all of which are hard to understand and likely to perplex people. There's also the simple confusion that your money is "out there" somewhere and not in your pocket.

Data source: Coindesk
Like all currencies Bitcoin’s value can go up but it can also go down. For instance, if you’d bought Bitcoins in late December last year you would have lost almost two-thirds of your “investment” by the time I wrote this. There’s no reason to think that it’s price will increase again.

Then there are security concerns. The technology underpinning Bitcoin is highly secure but anyone who says that a particular security system is fool proof doesn’t know their history. All security technologies will eventually be broken and if a flaw is ever discovered in Bitcoin's security mechanisms it would be instantly valueless.

The fact that it's completely unregulated is another concern. If a conventional currency like the Pula, dollar or Euro showed signs of failing, central banks can do things to support it but with Bitcoin, there's nobody to help you. The Bank of Botswana has already warned people about the dangers of speculating in Bitcoin. Another issue is that when you spend Bitcoins there are no payment protection mechanisms available to you. There are no rights to refunds. no chargeback mechanisms and Bitcoins are completely untraceable and that’s why they’re so popular with criminals and terrorists.

Bitcoin is fascinating and something like it is probably the future of money but you shouldn’t see it as an investment. If you have some money you can afford to lose then go ahead, otherwise you should be much more careful.

And then there’s the final thing. While Bitcoin is itself legitimate (but very high risk) it’s surrounded by a huge number of scams, pyramid schemes and Ponzi schemes, all of which are exploiting the mixture of excitement and ignorance we all have about the subject. Just be very careful!

Where’s the tombstone?

We as a family paid P9,500 to a company in Mogoditshane for them to make us a tombstone for our grandfather to be unveiled in late July. We agreed with them and they made a promise it will all be set up by the agreed date. When we called up they promised it will be set up by Tuesday 24th July, it happened it was not so. We went to their offices and we cannot get any assistance. The owner of the company has switched off his cellphones and the officer in charge cannot assist as she says everything is done by the owner of the company.

We need help as we have incurred costs for the unveiling and we did not get our tombstone and we are so anxious and restless. What can we do?

What is it with some companies? We hear so often about companies that let people down during some of life’s most important occasions, particularly weddings and funerals. Don’t they understand that these are occasions that can’t be repeated? Don’t they know how important they are? Don’t they realise the depth of the emotions involved?

Send me the contact details for this awful company and we’ll get in touch with them and try to explain to them how horrible their behaviour has been. We’ll also explain that I removed their name from your email to give them the chance to rectify their appalling behaviour. They need to know that this might not remain the case.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Skylane Couriers - another scam

A consumer contacted us regarding a shipment they were expecting from the USA, having bought what they believed were iPhones and Apple laptops from Best Buy (a legitimate company).

However this was nothing to do with Best Buy. This was nothing more than a scam.

The clues emerged when they received an email from the shipping company, calling itself Skylane Couriers, saying that their shipment had been stopped by the authorities in Guinea "for collection of Custom Fees, Tax Charges and Importation Licenses Fee".

This is the nature of these shipping scams. They choose a country far from the supposed shipper and far from the recipient and pretend that customs have seized the package and won't release it until a payment has been made. This ignores the fact that with any shipment, duties, taxes and fees can only be charged in the country it came from and the destination. Countries in the middle do nothing unless they have reason to stop the goods if they suspect there's something criminal happening.

The email from the fake courier company said that the customs people in Guinea had told them:
"A tax levied on imports (and, sometimes, on exports) by the customs authorities of a country to raise state revenue. Customs duty is based generally on the value of goods or upon the weight and dimensions. You are been Charged for Custom Duty, Tax & Import duty.

Import License Fee*********$425 USD
Custom duty****************$250 USD
Tax Charges****************$199 USD

You have privilege of 5 days to pay up the required fees by the  Guinea Custom facility. Failure to pay up the required fees within 5 days, demur-rage charges of $55 will counts everyday that the goods stay's at Custom warehouse in Conakry - Guinea .

It is our responsibility and authority to propose and enforce laws and regulations to ensure safe, secure, efficient and clean delivery."
Payment of course was not requested by bank transfer or debit or credit card. They wanted the money sent by Western Union.

The clues...

Western Union. Real companies don’t expect payment through WU, they would want debit or credit payments or electronic transfers.

Duties. Duties on shipments are only payable at the beginning or end of a shipment, not halfway along the route. Nothing is being “imported” into Guinea so no such payments are required.

Language. The language is not what I would expect from a company if it was genuine.

The web site. The clever part (and I’ve seen this several times before) is that they’ve constructed a well-prepared web site where you can check the shopping number they give. The shipping number they offer works and appears to show a route that is bizarre. The package apparently went from Minnesota in the USA to Illinois, then to Cuba, Barbados, Cape Verde and finally Conakry in Guinea. That’s a very interesting route. Cuba? Really?

The web site (again). Interestingly, the text on the web site is exactly the same as several other shipping companies I could find. I assume they are all fakes as well because I can find warnings about scams associated with some of those other sites. Either that or one is the genuine original and the other are all copies. The single physical address they give is in the UK and is in fact owned by another, genuine company.

More on the web site. On their web site they say that the company was “formed in the year 2004” and they suggest is based in the UK or Russia but their domain was only registered in March this year to an address in Nigeria.

Unfortunately it was too late to save this victim who had already sent money to the scammers.

Be warned!

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Radio show notes - week beginning 30th July 2018

Source: Wikipedia
1. Magellan International – CGI Global
“I received an invitation from someone in Tanzania to attend a presentation in Gaborone and training on something called Magellan International run by a company called CGi Limited. Do you think this is genuine?”
Do I think it's genuine? Yes, it's a genuine scam.

The CGI Global web site says that their business involves  “Mobile Technology”, “Online Shopping” and “Cryptocurrency Mining”. They even claim to have their own cryptocurrency that they call “Betchip”. In a facebook post they claim that this coin can be purchased for “$1 per coin* and that there will be “a huge profitable opportunity when the coin will go as high as $10,000 or more” and that “all you need to make the profit out of Betchips is to invest now while stock last.”

One curious is that while CGI Global's domain was registered in USA they say that their services are “not available in … United States of America”.

It's a simple rule. Any scheme that offers return as massive as these, a 10,000 fold increase is going to be a Ponzi scheme.

2. A success story

A consumer had a credit card with Bank A. He paid off the credit card debt and moved to Bank B where he applied for a loan. However, Bank B told him that Bank A had "blacklisted" him at CRB because of an outstanding credit card debt.
“I went to the bank livid and I was told they don’t know what really happened and they wrote a letter for me to take to my new bank to assure them that they erroneously listed me at CRB. Théy promised to solve my issue first thing tomorrow morning. I couldn’t sleep last night wondering what the implication of being listed at CRB means for my credit rating because of someone else’s carelessness in their job. I want to know the implications even if they promised to remove me on Monday morning?”
Technically credit reference bureaus don't "blacklist" people. In fact, they record almost everything about our financial lives, both the good things and the bad things. That then enables other companies to judge carefully whether to lend you money, based on your recent financial history.

We contacted Bank A and the matter has now been resolved.

3. How to complain – The Official Consumer Watchdog Complaints Procedure

Official complaints procedures are gone. In the past we offered an alternative procedure that we suggested consumers adopt instead of any company's complaints procedure.

The old, three-step procedure was:
  1. Complain to the person who offended you.
  2. Complain to the most senior person in the building.
  3. Complain to the most senior person in the company.
But even that is now outdated. The new procedure is even simpler.
  1. Complain whenever, wherever and however you please.
It's 2018 and consumers are in control.

4. Is Jamalife legit or its just another Ponzi scheme? (Yes, again)

They describe themselves as:
“an online cum offline network marketing organization and was born out of the need to build up people financially all across the globe to the point of experiencing high quality life in all areas of living”.
Sorry? What?

They claim to have products. “Human Capital Development”, “Food Security”, “Online mail”, “Flight and hotel booking”, “Assets and Property acquisition” and “Financial empowerment”.

Sorry? What?

They business has multiple levels called Builder, Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Diamond, Crown diamond, Ambassador and Crown Ambassador. Each of these contains sub-levels. They suggest that someone reaching Crown Ambassador will receive "R3,900,000 and a Range Rover worth R2,210,000". However, the maths are simple. To reach this level you and the people beneath you will need to recruit a total of 16,777,214 people.


Hidden away in their web site is this:
"any rewards or earnings that are offered from Jamalife Helpers Global through the Business Plan is the result of members referring or signing up other willing members".
Their members are also quite open about how it works.


So there you have it. A pyramid scheme.

5. Crystal Cell – is it legit?

Ads on Facebook ask:
“do u have damaged organs, whether it's the eyes, brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, whatever in the body [...] If there's something wrong in our body it traces back to the cells, that's why targeting cells is the best problem solution because it helps with health in general and very specifically at the same time, which makes Crystal cell unique.”
They claim that their products are based on stem cells, saying that the "potential uses of stem cells" include stroke, traumatic brain injury, learning defects, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, wound healing, baldness, blindness, deafness, myocardial infarction, diabetes, cancers, arthritis…”


But Crystal Cell apparently contains plant stem cells, not human stem cells. So how can they have any effect at all?

This is obviously nonsense, and dangerous nonsense. There's a real risk that someone suffering from one of the conditions mentioned will swallow (literally) this ridiculous product instead of taking medical advice. Crystal Cell will then have blood on their hands.

It's also illegal.

6. Medical Aid

NBFIRA announced recently that both Itekanele and Etudiant Medical Aids have been temporarily closed. For both, they say that:
“the effect of the closure is that Itekanele shall not be permitted to issue new medical aid covers and to advertise its products. Existing members are advised that the temporary closure will not affect their medical aid policies and consequent rights and responsibilities.”
Roughly translated, this means "Don't panic". Just think carefully about who you can trust with your health.

Friday, 3 August 2018

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Why have they blacklisted me?

I need your help with my old bank. I had a credit card with them that I owed P2,080 that I had paid fully in November 2017. I was shocked yesterday when I went to my new bank to get a loan to be told I have been listed at CRB by the old bank on 24 January 2018. I went to the bank livid and I was told they don’t know what really happened and they wrote a letter for me to take to my new bank to assure them that they erroneously listed me at CRB. Théy promised to solve my issue first thing tomorrow morning. I couldn’t sleep last night wondering what the implication of being listed at CRB means for my credit rating because of someone else’s carelessness in their job. I want to know the implications even if they promised to remove me on Monday morning?


Let’s start by explaining how credit reference bureaus operate. They don’t “blacklist” people, unlike what most people will say. In fact, they record everything, both good and bad. They record when we get a loan or buy something on hire purchase, they record when we repay these commitments properly and also when we fail to do so. The recent financial history they hold on us is then used by lenders to help them decide whether to lend more money to us. There’s nothing wrong with this because it helps them to take the right decisions. It helps them to lend money to the people most likely to repay it and to avoid lending to people with a recent history of not meeting their obligations.

However, mistakes are obviously sometimes made. From what you say, it seems like your old bank clearly made a serious mistake when they recorded that you still owed them money. If it’s true it’s the responsibility of the bank to fix this problem by correcting your record so that this alleged debt completely disappears and that their mistake doesn’t disadvantage you in any way.

We’ll also get in touch with them to encourage them to move more quickly!

Should I attend the presentation?

I received an invitation from someone in Tanzania to attend a presentation in Gaborone and training on something called Magellan International run by a company called CGi Limited. Do you think this is genuine?


I think it’s a genuine scam.

CGI Limited now call themselves CGI Global and on their web site they suggest that they have interests in “Mobile Technology”, “Online Shopping” and, guess what, “Cryptocurrency Mining”. They even claim to have their own cryptocurrency that they call Betchip. They say that this is “a new digital coin to the market” and that it “can be used within the CGi economy in selected stores and services online.” They go on to suggest that recruits can buy them at “$1 per coin* and that there will be “a huge profitable opportunity when the coin will go as high as $10,000 or more” and that “all you need to make the profit out of Betchips is to invest now while stock last.”

However, there’s no evidence that any of this is actually true. There’s no evidence that this “Betchip” currency really exists and it’s certainly bizarre to think that a currency that doesn’t even exist can increase in value by up to 10,000 times. Yet again, this is a scam is exploiting public ignorance about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Even though their web site is registered in the USA earlier this year, it’s strange that their web site says that their services are “not available in certain countries and territories including United States of America”. Also, almost all of the advertising seems to be focussed on Africa. This obviously conflicts with a post on their Facebook page which suggests that 52% of their visitors are from the USA and that “These are now seeing what we don't see!!!” Many things don’t add up.

The facts are quite simple. Any scheme that claims it can convert a $1 investment into $10,000 is a scam, almost certainly a Ponzi scheme. Any scheme that claims you can make fortunes from “investing” in a cryptocurrency is certainly a deception. Please don’t waste your time, effort and money on what is clearly a scam.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Radio show notes - week beginning 23rd July 2018

Source: Wikipedia
1. WC Connect – pyramid scheme alert

WC Connect describe themselves as:
"an empowerment based membership program".
and that their vision:
"is to empower our members and through them we empower people around them by just introducing them to WC CONNECT".
So are there any products? They make it clear that there is "NO BUYING" and "NO SELLING". They also claim that it's "easy for its members to own houses, cars, laptops, mobile phones and many more without paying a coin. Its all free from WC CONNECT.You stand a chance to own a Brand new bungalow worth $140,000”.


In WhatsApp conversations with some of their active recruiters I asked “Do we make money from recruiting people or from selling products?” One responded “Yes you make money from recruiting people.” and another said “Yes it’s all about recruitment dear nothing else.”

So it's a pyramid scheme.

2. PFI Digital and Vortex Profits – scam alert

Many people will remember Vortex Profits, a Ponzi scheme that described itself as:
“a remarkable investment platform with an outstanding track record of 2 years for delivering best of class investment solutions and endless income-generating opportunity”.
They promised returns of between 2.5% and 4% every day, claiming there was some connection with investments in Bitcoin, gold or oil. In fact, Vortex Profits was nothing but a scam and many people in Botswana lost lots of money.

Now something new happens

An entity calling itself PFI Digital (UK) posts alerts on Facebook asking:
“Have you lost money with Vortex Profits? Final call for submissions. ... complete your complaint form and submit it to PFI Digital (UK) before we submit the letters of complaint to the UK and European authorities. We expect a criminal investigation to be opened and the true directors of Vortex Profits to be brought to justice.”


In order for this to take place, the advertisement states that victims must send $25 to the organisers by Payeer or Moneygram.

This is a scam. Despite suggesting that this is a company registered in the UK "PFI Digital (UK)" no such company of that name is currently registered in the United Kingdom.

Furthermore, they offer no more than a Gmail address and a cellphone number. The address they give, "56 Whetstone Lane, Birkenhead" in the UK is actually the address of a YMCA building.

Image c/o Google Maps
All of these facts confirm that this is a particularly shameless scam that is trying to exploit the victims of the previous Vortex Profits scam. Consumers are urged not to send any money to these scammers.

3. Policy values and "front-loading"

A consumer started a retirement annuity policy on 1st April 2017. She received a statement showing the state of the policy at 31st March 2018. This showed that she had paid premiums totalling P20,000 but they had deducted "Admin expenses" of P14,000 leaving a policy value of just P6,000. She asked if this was normal?

This is sometimes called “front-loading” and often happens with any investment of savings policy that is meant to last for many, perhaps 10 or 20 years. The sales agent or broker who sold you the policy don't want to wait for 10 or 20 years to get their commission of administrative costs, they want it now. That's why the fees are deducted from the policy value in the first year. A year or two later the premiums will have caught up with the deductions and it will start to accumulate real value. remember that these policies are for many years, not just for a short time.

The problem is that the sales agents and brokers sometimes forget to explain this. That's where action is needed.

4. Should I tell them?
“I have been paying an instalment at furnisher shop, and all of a sudden my contract is terminated and I struggle to pay. During the period I was working I really pushed to reach half of the sum. Am now owing 7k, and unfortunately our contracts ended. Should I go to the furnisher shop with letters showing them am still unemployed so that they stop putting more interest in my debt? Am willing to settle the remaining balance, but am still called by finance people reminding me to come pay though am not working. What should I do?”
Talk to them! Arrange a payment plan that you can afford and they can accept. They don’t want to go to court.

5. Car accident #1
“I am having a difficult time with an insurance company. My car was in an accident. My friend, who doesn't have a license, was driving me to the pharmacy and got hit by a guy who didn't stop at the STOP sign. My friend was charged with not having a licence and the guy was charged with negligence. [….] Insurance company told me there is a possibility of them not fixing my car even though their client did take the blame and acknowledged his fault.”
It wasn't just the guy who caused the accident and your friend who broke the law, you did as well. Section 30 of Road Traffic Act says that: “no person who owns or is in charge of a motor vehicle of any class shall cause or permit any person to drive such motor vehicle unless such person is the holder of a valid driving licence for that class of vehicle.”

I suspect that the insurance company might use this as an excuse not to compensate you. My advice is to go quiet and don’t draw attention to yourself, maybe you’ll be lucky!

6. Car accident #2
“My brother hit 3 cars last year while driving to work. He was found guilty by the police. He managed to help one of the owners to fix her car. The other 2 cars were insured so now the insurance companies want my brother to pay money close to hundred and something thousands. Is that allowed please help?”
Yes. The person who causes an accident pays to fix the damage caused. Insurance policies only benefit those who pay for them.

If your brother had his own vehicle insurance policy it would have paid the bills. Now he's going to need to find the money himself from somewhere. This is a very good example of why third-party vehicle insurance should be compulsory.

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Help! I didn’t visit those sites!

Please help. I received an email saying that I had visited adult web sites and that the man had installed a keylogger which gave him access to my system and to my camera which he said had recorded me. He said that his software program had obtained all my contacts from Facebook as well as my email.

The email says that I must send him $1,700 using Bitcoin or he will send the pornography he says I watched and the video of me from my webcam to all my contacts. What can I do? I didn’t watch online porn, I promise you. Please help.


The first thing you must do is not panic. This is a scam. Everything you have been told in this email is a lie. It’s nothing more than an attempt at extortion.

I’ve heard from a number of people who received emails just like this and guess what, I even received one myself and my colleagues have had them as well. The approach adopted by these scammers is to scare people into paying them the money they’re demanding. In your case it’s unlikely to work because you haven’t done any of the things you’re accused of doing. The scammers are relying on finding victims that have been viewing pornography online and have a guilty conscience about it.

My advice is just to delete the email and do the same to any others like it that you might receive.

Meanwhile, this is perhaps a very good opportunity to make sure your computer is fully protected. Whatever operating system you use, turn on your firewall, make sure you install all the updates your computer suggests and install an antivirus package and then keep it up-to-date. And finally, be very careful what web sites you visit!

Must he pay them?

Please I have a problem I hope you will help me out and thank you in advance. My brother hit 3 cars last year while driving to work. 4 cars were damaged 1 being the one he was driving. So he was found guilty by the police. He managed to help one of the owners to fix her car. The other 2 cars were insured so now the insurance companies want my brother to pay money close to hundred and something thousands. Is that allowed please help?


I’m sorry but that’s how it works. Your brother caused an accident that damaged several vehicles and the fact that the Police charged him is all the evidence that the insurance companies need to see that.

The general rule is that if you cause an accident, then you must pay for it. To his credit he’s done that already for the driver who didn’t have insurance but he must do the same with the others.

Even though they had vehicle insurance, and the insurance companies have paid to repair the other two vehicles, that doesn't change the fact that it's his responsibility to pay the bills.

The most important thing about vehicle insurance is that the insurance policy covers the costs of the person who pays for it, not anyone else. These insurance companies don’t cover your brother’s costs, they cover their customer’s costs. They were the ones paying the premiums, so they get the benefit.

Meanwhile, your brother should ask the insurance companies to justify the costs they're charging. He’s entitled to see copies of the invoices from the companies that repaired the vehicle but there's no way he can escape paying the bills if they’re legitimate.

The lesson is that everyone should have at least third-party vehicle insurance. If your brother had possessed such a policy, it would have covered the amount he now needs to find, minus a small “excess” payment he’d contribute.

Personally, I believe that third-party vehicle insurance should be compulsory. It’s not that expensive and it’s a LOT cheaper than the amount your brother now needs to find.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Where’s my insurance payment?

On the 23rd of May my television set was stolen from my home. However I had not completed the monthly payments for the TV with only three months left.

I submitted a police report to the store the week after the burglary took place and they promised to get back to us in due time. However it has been almost two months since I have given them the police report and I have not heard anything back from them. They keep saying they have been waiting for response from the insurance company but have so far not said anything concrete.

I hope your organisation can help me come to a positive result.


The first step is to escalate this issue so that someone senior within the company knows how long you’ve been waiting. I suggest that you call the branch manager and complain about the time this is taking. We’ll also contact the country manager to see if they can encourage their staff and the insurance company to speed things up a little.

Luckily, it seems that you’re up-to-date with your payments. Most hire purchase agreements include a clause which says that if you fall behind then you lose some of the so-called “benefits” the agreement offered you. One of these is often the insurance policy included in the agreement. If you don’t pay, the policy often won’t cover you.

One problem with these insurance policies is that they only last as long as the repayment period. The moment you make the final payment and the property finally becomes your property, the insurance policy dies. Another thing to understand is how expensive hire purchase insurance policies can be. It’s far better and much cheaper to get your own household insurance policy that covers everything in your house, not just the item your buying. A household insurance policy might seem expensive but like all insurance policies it’s often more expensive not to have one.

Where’s my insurance payment (again)?

I am having a difficult time with my insurance company. My car was in an accident. My friend, who doesn't have a license, was driving me to the pharmacy and got hit by a guy who didn't stop at the STOP sign. My friend was charged with not having a licence and the guy was charged with negligence.

I have been trying to get the company to fix my car as they long fixed their client's car but to this day I am still waiting. At first I was being helped by a lady who told me they couldn't fix it, so I asked for her supervisor. I have been sending him emails and he has been calling and asking me the same questions. I then asked for his supervisor who I talked to and he promised me to get back to me but I don't get any response on how far with the process unless I email them. I called him today and he said he would get back to me which I do not trust since it seems it is the only thing that they say but never do. To top it off, he told me there is a possibility of them not fixing my car even though their client did take the blame and acknowledged his fault.

I don't know what else to do as it has been 5 months of going around in circles with this company. Your response would be highly appreciated.


This might be another challenge. The biggest problem I foresee is that your car was being driven illegally. You allowed your car to be driven by someone who didn’t have a driving licence and I suspect that the insurance company is going to use that as an excuse to not pay you. Can you blame them? As far as the paperwork is concerned, at the time of the accident your car was being driven by someone who was incompetent and even though it was their client who caused the accident, they can use this situation to their advantage by spreading the blame to your friend and even to you.

In fact, you were lucky not to be charged yourself. Section 30 of the Road Traffic Act says that “no person who owns or is in charge of a motor vehicle of any class shall cause or permit any person to drive such motor vehicle unless such person is the holder of a valid driving licence for that class of vehicle.”

My advice is to wait and see what the insurance company say. That doesn’t mean you can’t encourage them to go a little faster, but don’t be too optimistic!

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Consumer Alert - PFI Digital and Vortex Profits

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

17th July 2018

Consumer Alert: PFI Digital and Vortex Profits


Consumer Watchdog would like to alert consumers about a scam that targets the victims of a previous  scam, Vortex Profits.

Background

Vortex Profits claimed to be “a remarkable investment platform … with an outstanding track record of 2 years for delivering best of class investment solutions and endless income-generating opportunity”. They suggested that investors could earn returns of between 2.5% and 4% every day by investing through Vortex Profits in Bitcoin, gold or oil.

Many people in Botswana paid significant amounts to join this obvious Ponzi scheme. They all lost.

PFI Digital

Recently, advertisements have been posted on social media suggesting that a company calling itself "PFI Digital" can assist victims of Vortex Profits to reclaim their lost money. These advertisements invite victims to complete a complaint form and submit it to the company. They suggest that there will be "a criminal investigation" and that the directors of Vortex Profits will "be brought to justice".


In order for this to take place, the advertisement states that victims must send $25 to the organisers by Payeer or Moneygram.

This is a scam. Despite suggesting that this is a company registered in the UK "PFI Digital (UK)" no such company of that name is currently registered in the United Kingdom.

Furthermore, they can offer no more than a Gmail address and a cellphone number. The address they give, "56 Whetstone Lane, Birkenhead" in the UK is actually the address of a YMCA building.

Image c/o Google Maps
All of these facts confirm that this is a particularly shameless scam that is trying to exploit the victims of the previous Vortex Profits scam. Consumers are urged not to send any money to these scammers.

Monday, 16 July 2018

A phishing attack

In comes an email to the Consumer Watchdog email address, warning about a crisis, demanding that we must sign in to our online email account by clicking on a link to "unlock your account".


However, things are not as they seem. Hover the mouse over the link and you see where the link actually goes.

No, I didn't click on the link because that would just have confirmed that the email address was both valid and in use, inviting more of these attempts. Instead I made up a fake email address and used that instead. This is what came up next (after my computer warned me of the danger).


This is what it's all about, getting the password for this email address. The crooks can them sign in to the real account and who knows what will happen next? You can bet it'll be something bad.

The lesson? It's simple. Don't EVER click on links in emails unless you are CERTAIN you know where the link will take you.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Consumer Alert - WC Connect

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

15th July 2018

Consumer Alert: WC Connect


Consumer Watchdog would like to alert consumers about WC Connect, a pyramid scheme currently trying to recruit victims in Botswana.

The WC Connect web site describes the business as "an empowerment based membership program" and says that their:
"vision is to empower our members and through them we empower people around them by just introducing them to WC CONNECT".
However, there appears to be no product at the heart of their business model and recruitment is the only activity required. Their web site (which is registered to an address in Gboko in northern Nigeria) describes very clearly how this supposed business operates.

They claim that there's "NO BUYING" and "NO SELLING" and that it is:
"easy for its members to own houses, cars, laptops, mobile phones and many more without paying a coin. Its all free from WC CONNECT.You stand a chance to own a Brand new bungalow worth 140,000USD, at level 6 etc"
Messages posted in various WhatsApp groups were even clearer. They describe their business model like this.



The way they suggest recruits make money is very simple.




The obvious question was:


And the reaction was predictable:


There's no product, no buying and selling, no activity other than just recruiting other people into the scheme. It's a pyramid scheme.

You have been warned.

Friday, 13 July 2018

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Should I join Bitcoin?

Hello Sir I am interested in joining Bitcoin but I need someone who can explain so I understand better. There is this other gal who tried to explain but I really don’t understand her. May you kindly be of help, especially mining the bitcoins.

Bitcoin is a currency, like the Pula, the Rand, the US Dollar and Euro but unlike these conventional currencies, Bitcoin is a “cryptocurrency”. Cryptocurrencies aren’t currencies that you can carry in your pocket, purse or wallet. There are no coins or notes, they exist in cyberspace.

That’s one reason why Bitcoin should never be seen as an investment. Currencies aren’t investments, they’re things we use to trade with, to buy and sell things and the people who trade between currencies are speculators, not investors. They’re more like gamblers.

Data source: Coindesk
Another reason why Bitcoin shouldn’t be seen as an investment is that like all cryptocurrencies, they’re enormously volatile and unpredictable. Their values can go up and down remarkably quickly, much more than real investments and conventional currencies. Bitcoin advocates will often tell you that Bitcoin’s value increased enormously in 2017 and that’s true but what they often fail to explain is that its value then dropped by two thirds. Anyone who “invested” in December last year would have since lost two thirds of their money today.

Consumers should also know that unlike conventional currencies, there are no protections, no safeguards, no regulators overseeing Bitcoin. There’s nobody to turn to if something goes wrong. Nobody at all.

You asked about Bitcoin mining and that’s a complicated issue. Every time someone buys, sells or transfers using Bitcoin, that transaction has to be verified by computers around the world that hold the “blockchain”, the "distributed ledger" of all transactions. That’s basically what Bitcoin mining is and the people running those computers can earn Bitcoins themselves as a result. However, the computing power needed to do this is enormous and huge “server farms” are required to do it. It’s something way beyond you or me.

Perhaps the greatest danger is that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are surrounded by a huge range of scams, pyramid schemes and Ponzi schemes.


Ask anyone who encourages you to join a scheme, how does it benefit them? You’ll soon see that it’s all about recruitment and nothing to do with Bitcoin.

Should I inform them?

I want to ask what happens when all along I have been paying an instalment at furnisher shop, and all of a sudden my contract is terminated and I struggle to pay. It was an instalment of about 14k, and during the period I was working I really pushed to reach half of the sum. Am now owing 7k, and unfortunately our contracts ended.

Should I go to the furnisher shop with letters showing them am still unemployed so that they stop putting more interest in my debt? Am willing to settle the remaining balance, but am still called by finance people reminding me to come pay though am not working. What should I do?

Unfortunately I don’t think I can give you any good news. Very often hire purchase agreements include an insurance policy that covers you for unexpected retrenchment but that’s not what happened to you. From what you say, it seems like you came to the end of your contract and I guess that was something you knew was going to happen? Even if you didn’t know in advance, you presumably knew that your contract could have been terminated like this? Personally, I think that the store should have checked this before they accepted your business. They should have asked you to prove your employment was permanent and not fixed-term or liable to be terminated like this. Before you enter into any financial arrangement you need to be 100% certain that you’ll be able to pay for it all. You need to know that you’ll have income to support the payments you’ll need to make.

What you absolutely must do is exactly what you suggested. Go to the store and explain to them that you are now unemployed and that you’re going to have some difficulties making the remaining instalments. See if you can agree a repayment plan that you can stick to. With luck they’ll be helpful.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Is Nexus Global for real?

I was invited to a presentation by them and they say we can P13,000 in a week. Is this true?

I think you know the answer to this question already, don’t you? I suspect that many readers of The Voice can predict my answer already.

Yes, this is certainly a scam. Several people have asked me about Nexus Global and it didn’t take much investigation to discover the truth. They say in their advertisements on Facebook that if you attend their presentations you can “learn how to turn P800 into P13000”. They also suggest that their scheme is based on “Bitcoin mining" but there’s no evidence that this is remotely true. In fact, when I asked the people actively recruiting people into the scheme how money was made they offered a very different explanation. One stated that the money can easily be made "but you need to recruit people" in order to do so. Another confirmed that the best way to make money was simply to recruit other people.

Nexus Global is nothing more than a pyramid scheme as these comments demonstrate but there are other clues that should raise our suspicions. The web site for the company was only registered in February of 2018 and the founder of the scheme, one Christian Michel Scheibener, has a past connection to another very suspicious scheme called Omnia Tech. Yes, when it comes to shady pyramid schemes you CAN judge someone by their past.

I urge everyone to avoid Nexus Global because, as I’ve said many times before, all pyramid schemes eventually collapse and when they do, the only people left with any money are the crooks that started them. And that money came from the victims who gave it to them.

How can I persuade my friend?

I was recently contacted by a lady named Katarina based in Manila. She works with Alliance In Motion Global, a colleague of mine referred me to her as a possible “investor”. So from reading the messages she sent me I just felt it was a pyramid scheme. I’ve decided I’m not going to put my money on this scam obviously, but how do I tell my friend that he has “invested” in a pyramid scheme? Because he has already paid them and is awaiting the products to arrive in Gabz.

This is always a very hard question to answer. When we see a friend or relative investing their time, effort and money in a pyramid scheme or even one of their slightly less awful cousins, a multi-level marketing scheme, our first impulse is to warn them but that’s not always easy. These pyramid schemes are like religious cults, the victims invest so much emotional energy in them it’s very hard to persuade them that they’re being abused.

AIM Global is most certainly a pyramid scheme and they don’t seem shy about talking about it. They talk non-stop about the need to recruit multiple levels of people beneath you and then about how much money you can make when you start recruiting other people. However, the really dangerous aspect of AIM Global is the product range they offer. They claim that their “C247” product can help with 100 different serious medical conditions including asthma, beri-beri, cirrhosis, bone fracture, deafness, endometriosis, epilepsy, hypertension, hepatitis, “toxins in the body”, stroke, migraine and even cancer and “immunodeficiency”. Not only are they extremely dangerous claims to make, it’s also illegal in Botswana to make them.


But that’s not the only illegal thing they do. I had a WhatsApp conversation with one of their recruiters and he proudly claimed that this C147 product had been approved by both our Ministry of Health and the Botswana Bureau of Standards. Both of those claims are lies and are illegal.

In my experience all you can do to support your friend is not to give up. Maybe ask him this. What one thing would persuade you that AIM Global is a scam? Then let me know what he says and we’ll do our best to give him the information he needs to realise the truth. Meanwhile, perhaps you can help spread the word about this dangerous, illegal scam.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Radio show notes - week beginning 2nd July 2018

Source: Wikipedia
1. How can I help my friend?
“I was recently contacted by a lady named Katarina based in Manila. She works with Alliance In Motion Global, a colleague of mine referred me to her as a possible 'investor'. From reading the messages she sent me I just felt it was a pyramid scheme. I’ve decided I’m not going to put my money on this scam obviously, but how do I tell my friend that he has “invested” in a pyramid scheme? Because he has already paid them and is awaiting the products to arrive in Gabz.”
Alliance In Motion Global is a pyramid scheme. Their own promotional material makes that abundantly clear.


Exponential recruitment and promises of millions in income? That's a pyramid scheme. However, they're smart enough to suggest that the business is actually about a range of products, the most striking of which is their "C247" product that they claim can be used to treat 100 different medical conditions, including asthma, beri-beri, cirrhosis, bone fracture, deafness, endometriosis, epilepsy, hypertension, hepatitis, “toxins in the body”, stroke, migraine and even cancer and “immunodeficiency”.


Any product that could do just a fraction of this would have led to someone being awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine and probably the prize for Peace as well.

But that's not all. Their distributors make some surprising claims.

Lies. Simple as that. Illegal lies. As simple as that as well.

The question was how can she help her friend who seems to have fallen victim to the scheme. My experience is simple. If you want to persuade someone of something, attack never works. Instead ask the friend this. "What single thing would persuade you that you are mistaken?" When they answer, you know where to begin.

2. Best before vs Expiry dates. What do they mean?

The Labelling Of Pre-packaged Foods Regulations say that:
“The expiry date shall be treated as the date after which food shall not be regarded as marketable or fit for human consumption”
and that the "best before date" is:
"the date which signifies the end of the period under any stated storage conditions during which the product will remain fully marketable and will retain any specific qualities for which tacit or express claims have been made"
It goes on to say that:
“No person shall import, distribute, sell or offer for sale, any food … whose expiry date has lapsed, whose expiry date, best before date, or sell by date has been obliterated or forged, whose label has been altered, obliterated or removed”
It doesn't mention Best Before dates in the same way. The facts are these. "Expiry" dates matter but "Best Before" dates are just advisory.

Meanwhile millions of years of evolution have left us with senses that should be trusted. Trust your sense of smell when it comes to food. Trust your experience. Be very careful with meat, dairy products and seafood. Be very careful how you store cooked food. Be very careful how you transport the food you've bought before it gets home. Remember that perhaps the commonest source of food poisoning isn't the producer of the food, the trucks that transported it or the store that sold it, it's you and me. Most often we poison ourselves. So be careful!

3. Pyramid schemes vs MLMs

What’s the difference between a pyramid scheme and a Multi-Level Marketing scheme?

It's all about products.

Section 9 of our new Consumer Protection Act defines a pyramid scheme as a scheme:
“where participants in the scheme receive compensation derived primarily from their respective recruitment of other persons as participants”
The key word is "primarily". Even if the scheme claims to have products, and even if it does have products, if most of the promised income comes from recruitment then it's a pyramid scheme.

The Act goes on to say that:
“A person shall not directly or indirectly promote, or knowingly join, enter or participate, or cause any other person to promote, join, enter or participate in… (a) A pyramid scheme, (b) A multiplication scheme, (c) A chain letter scheme”
and that:
“A person who participates in an arrangement, agreement, practice or scheme under subsection 2 commits an offence and shall be liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding P100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to both.”
Recently, recruiters for AIM Global, Nexus Global and Jamalife have all told me that it's about recruitment. They've said things like:
“We make money by recruiting other people to join Jamalife with P100 joining fee. We don’t buy and sell. We earn by recruiting.”
They're all pyramid schemes and it's them telling us this.

However, none of this means that Multi-Level Marketing schemes are much better. I have my suspicions about whether they are "primarily" about recruitment or the sale fo products but let's assume they're about products.

The news is almost as bad. Hardly anyone makes any money from joining them. Amway's income statements are sad. Herbalife's are the same.

4. Be careful what you post!

A statement from our friends at the Botswana Police Service.

“EXCHANGE OR DISTRIBUTION OF OBSCENE MATERIALS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

The Botswana Police Service (BPS) is concerned about the growing trend in which some individuals or groups publish, exchange, distribute pornographic or obscene materials on social media.

Of great concern is the exchange or distribution of realistic images of scenes of crime, fatal road accidents and other immoral activities.

The BPS has also identified some culprits that are involved in these activities. Amazingly, the suspects that were arrested claimed that they did not know that the exchange or distribution of obscene material through the internet constitutes an offence punishable by law.
The BPS would therefore like to warn the public that it is a serious offence under the Cybercrime and Computer Related Act.

The public is therefore urged to desist from such practices and to report anyone they suspect to be engaged in such immoral acts. Such irresponsible behaviour has more often caused unbearable trauma to the parents and relatives of the victims or the victims themselves.
We further urge, particularly those who are obsessed with publishing and distributing such images on social media that they should exercise humility, courtesy and respect for others regardless of their status in life.

We have also observed that such acts has the potential of tarnishing the good image of the country.”
Before anyone panics, this isn't a curtailment of freedom of expression, it's just a plea, that we fully support, for people to exercise a little restraint when posting things on Facebook and other social media. It's no different to expressing yourself in a bar, your workplace or the mall. Think for a moment before you shout something out load. Just think.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Radio show notes - week beginning 25th June 2018

Source: Wikipedia
1. Tender scams

We've heard from several people who received invitations to supply goods apparently from various parts of the Government of Botswana or from parastatals such as BPC, Botswana Railways and PPADB. The most recent one seemed to come from MMEWR.

The documents attached are very professional looking with the right sort of language, often naming real people in the organisations and with authentic-looking signatures.

The documents then give a link to a supplier of the necessary goods in South Africa. This has a respectable-looking web site and what appear to be genuine contact details. When the victim contacts this apparent supplier they are asked to send a deposit to secure the relevant goods. That's what this is all about. It's actually an advance fee scam. The supplier is fake, the address either unknown or for someone else, the web site often created just a few days beforehand and the only number that works is a cellphone number.

So we've heard from victims before they sent the "deposit" but we heard of one victim who had sent P200,000 and was now desperately trying to get his bank to reverse the transaction. I suspect he's too late.

There are clues if you look carefully. This isn't actually how government or parastatals procure things. They don't approach total strangers giving them business. The web sites are too new. The only working numbers are cellphone numbers. In at least one case the email domain that sent the documents wasn't correct.

If you receive one fo these emails the first thing you should do is contact the Ministry or parastatal's procurement department (using the landline number in the phonebook, not the one given in the documents emailed to you) and ask them if it's true. But it won't be.

2. Nexus Global – another pyramid scheme (again)

Ads are appearing on Facebook for Nexus Global suggesting that if you attend their presentations at hotel in Mogoditshane every week you'll "Learn how to turn P800 into P13,000 every Monday".

They suggest that this is something to do with "Botswana Bitcoin Mining" but when I contacted some of the people shown in the advertisement the story was a little different.

I asked whether it's "really possible to make P13,000 from just P800 every week? How does it work?"

"Thato" responded by saying "Yes it's possible but you need to recruit people".


"Nelson" told me that "There is too much money to be made in recruiting people! We have the Binary system whereby you recruit and start earning 10% commission to your wallet immediately.”


Section 9 of our new Consumer Protection Act, 2018 defines a pyramid scheme as a scheme "where participants in the scheme receive compensation derived primarily from their respective recruitment of other persons as participants".

Nexus Global are a self-defined pyramid scheme.

3. Can this be true?

In comes a message:
"For the past two weeks I’ve been getting calls from a lady claiming to be in UK. She says I must deposit P3,500 pula and earn 200% through Forex. Is it a scam Richard Harriman? Their number isn't answered."
Section 9 of the the new Consumer Protection Act, 2018 says that:
"A person shall not directly or indirectly promote, or knowingly join, enter or participate, or cause any other person to promote, join, enter or participate in… a multiplication scheme."
A multiplication scheme is defined as:
“an arrangement, agreement, practice or scheme where a person offers, promises or guarantees to a participant an effective annual interest rate that is above the market rate”
The calls came from a company calling itself Finmarket and gave a phone number starting with +44 which suggests it's in the UK. However, the company is actually based in Cyprus where the numbers start with +357.

Finmarket's web site warns people that:
"Trading carries risk and could result in the loss of your entire capital. You should not risk more than you are prepared to lose."
Given the high pressure sales approach, the fact that forex trading is a VERY high risk pastime, I'd suggest you give Finmarket a miss.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can they ignore the warranty?

On 25 May 2018 I returned my hair clippers with the receipt to the store at Airport Junction where I bought them but they refused to replace my clippers stating the purchase date of 17 May 2016 meant it was out of warranty. I informed the staff that when I purchased the clippers I asked about the 5 year warranty on this item and had been told that they would honor this warranty.

Imagine my distress when they refused to replace my clippers. Please assist as I was their loyal customer of many years.

This is actually very simple. If these clippers came with a five year warranty then the store from which you bought the item must honour that warranty. It’s not complicated and guess what, the Consumer Protection Regulations are on your side.

Section 17 (1) (d) of the Regulations forbids a supplier from “causing a probability of confusion or of misunderstanding as to the legal rights, obligations, or remedies of a party to a transaction” and I think that’s what they’re trying to do here when they say they’re entitled to ignore a warranty when clearly they’re not.

The next section, 17 (1) (e), forbids them from “disclaiming or limiting the implied warranty of merchantability and fitness for use, unless a disclaimer is clearly and conspicuously disclosed”. That means that in 2016 when you bought the clippers they should have informed you that the warranty wasn’t going to be honoured. Finally, another section, 17 (1) (f), says a supplier may not enter “into a transaction in which the consumer waives or purports to waive a right, benefit or immunity provided by law, unless the waiver is clearly stated and the consumer has specifically consented to it”. I think that means they should have asked you to sign an agreement saying you understood that the 5-year warranty didn’t apply to you.

I think you should go back to the store and explain this to them. Meanwhile we’ll do the same. Let’s see if they can see reason!

Why won’t they refund me?

Hello Mr Richard. I have surrendered my funeral policy at and they tell me stories of being given a month notice adding that they won’t refund me. So where can I get help? Mind you the policy was for five years.

I suspect you’re confused about the difference between an investment scheme and an insurance policy. I also suspect the company that offered it to you probably didn’t do their best to explain it to you properly. That’s a common thing and we frequently see the consequences of people not understanding the agreements they’ve signed with insurance companies.

In an investment or savings scheme the money you pay the provider is invested somewhere and with a little luck you earn some interest on it during the lifetime of the policy. When you later cash in the policy you get back the money you invested and that interest, minus any charges and commission that the provider took.

However, in an insurance policy, such as the funeral plan you had, you don’t get the money back. That’s because you’re buying something with the monthly premiums you pay. You’re buying “cover” against an unfortunate event happening. Another way to describe it is to say that you are “transferring risk” from yourself to the insurance company. If the unfortunate event happens, the insurance company pays the bills. That’s how it works with a funeral plan, a vehicle insurance policy or household policy. If there’s a death, an accident or a break-in or fire, the insurance company pays to fix the problem.

During the five years you had your funeral plan, if one of the people covered had tragically passed away, the company would have paid out. The fact that nobody died is fortunate for them and I hope for you too?

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Consumer Alert - Nexus Global

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

23rd June 2018

Consumer Alert: Nexus Global


Consumer Watchdog would like to alert consumers about Nexus Global, an apparent pyramid scheme currently trying to recruit victims in Botswana.

Advertisements have been published that claim that bu joining this scheme recruits cam "learn how to turn P800 into P13000 every Monday".


These advertisements suggest that the business is based on "Bitcoin mining" but when asked for more details the recruiters offer a very different explanation of how money can be made in the scheme.

One stated that the money can be made "but you need to recruit people" in order to do so.


Another confirmed that the best way to make money was simply to recruit other people.


The same person then described the business structure using the following diagram.


Nexus Global is clearly nothing more than a pyramid scheme as these comments and illustrations demonstrate. There are other clues that should raise consumer's suspicions. The web site for the company was only registered in February of 2018. The founder of the scheme, Christian Michel Scheibener, has a past connection to another very suspicious scheme, Omnia Tech.

Furthermore, the Nexus Global web site even describes their business using a similar diagram.


It's safe to say that Nexus Global is yet another scam that is doing its best to use references to cryptocurrency technologies to cover a very old-fashioned pyramid scheme.