Saturday, 3 February 2018

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Must I pay?

I'm desperately asking for you advice. My car got involved in an accident last year November. It was a minor one and the guy told me its ok I can go and his insurance will fix his car. By the way the police charged me. Now this year his insurance company wrote to me saying I owe them 28 000 pula for those repairs. Is this allowed please?

Yes, I'm afraid that's how it works. I assume from the fact that the Police charged you, that you were the one who caused the accident? The rule, both morally and legally, is if you cause an accident, then you must pay for it. In this case, the other driver had insurance cover that paid the immediate costs of repairing his vehicle, but that doesn't change the fact that it's your role to foot the bill at the end of the day.

The critical thing about vehicle insurance is that the insurance company covers the costs of the person who pays for it, not anyone else. His insurance company isn't going to cover your costs, they're going to cover his. He was the one paying the premiums after all.

However, I still think it's reasonable for the insurance company to justify the costs they're charging. You should ask for copies of the invoices from the company that repaired his vehicle but there's no way you can escape paying for it.

The lesson here is that everyone should have at least third-party vehicle insurance. If you'd had such a policy, it would have covered the P28,000 you'll now have to find, minus the "excess" amount that most insurance policies include.

I'm not the only one who thinks we should go one step further and make third-party vehicle insurance compulsory if you're going to drive a car on the roads of Botswana.

I'm sorry I don't have better news.

Where are my containers?

I wanted to buy used containers from South Africa because in Botswana they are very expensive. I came across the place to buy called RAT Recycling and Trading and I requested for quotations. I ended up sending money from my bank account for 2 containers. After payment was acknowledged by the recipients I was promised containers will be shipped to me in November 2017.

The next thing I was called by someone one who said because I did not pay for VAT I had to pay R9000 for each container as a Refundable Insurance Policy so I made another payment to the same recipient.

After about a week the supplier told me to reverse the payment and pay via Western Union to a different recipient. Payment was acknowledged by the recipient and therefore I expected shipment to commence but instead I was told to pay for storage charges which I refused to pay because I am not the one who caused the delay. The supplier kept telling me to pay storage charges.

Because this was taking too long I decided to agree to paying only after the shipper sent their companies address, registration number, landlines and other documents. That was the last communication. I've paid them R37000. What should I do now?

Unfortunately, I have bad news for you. You are the victim of a scam.

The company you found in South Africa is a fake. They don't appear to be a registered company, there's no trace of them operating. The only thing they actually possess is a web site but I discovered quite quickly that this was only registered inNovember last year. The physical address they give appears to be just someone's house.

The business about the VAT and what they called the "Refundable Insurance Policy" is also just an excuse to get more money from you. It's the same story with the "storage charges" they mentioned. Just another excuse to steal more money. The bad news is that scammers don't give refunds. I'm very sorry.

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