Tuesday 2 October 2018

Radio show notes - week beginning 24th September 2018

Source: Wikipedia
1. Can they charge me for the refund?
“I bought goods at a certain shop in Molapo Crossing. I swiped my card to pay but now I returned goods the shop owner demand that I pay certain percentage since I was swiping. He says it's bank charges for swiping.”
Banks charge retailers for swiping (I think 5%?). Nevertheless, it's still in their (and our) interest to swipe, it avoids the risks of cash.

I suspect that when a store swipes to refund someone when they return an item, they have to pay that swiping fee again.

Remember also that we only have a right to return things if there was a fault with the item you purchased, not if you chose the wrong item or just changed your mind.

2. They blacklisted me #1
“I bought a TV at on hire purchase. A few months later I closed the credit by paying with cash. A few months later I get a call from creditors that I owe the store. I went to enquire about my account settlement and it seems that they didn't close it. Now my name is registered with ITC. I have been trying to talk to them so that I am assisted. They are not assisting me as I would have liked. It's been 4 months now. Kindly help me. My life has been really affected. I am missing job opportunities at banks and I can't get financial aid because of my bad credit record that was caused by the negligence of the store staff.”
“Negligence”? That's way too mild. I prefer the words “unprofessional” and “incompetent”.

The customer did the right thing, they paid off a debt as soon as they were able to and now they're being punished for it?

Paying off debt is ALWAYS a good thing to do, after you've set aside your emergency fund of three months outgoing, better still six.

We've already contacted the store in question.

3. They blacklisted me #2
“My boyfriend was blacklisted unfairly by Home Choice without even his knowledge. He ordered goods, they did not reach him when he checked at the post office they confirmed on the system that the goods were returned to Home Choice because there was no communication. When they called for payment he told them that he didn't receive the goods. Instead of resending them they blacklisted him and he only found out about it yesterday when he was processing a loan.”
We've heard this and similar stories many time. HomeChoice purchases aren't delivered, end up being returned, but the customer is still billed and sometimes listed with credit reference bureaux.

What to do? Make sure that you always and promptly contact HomeChoice when products aren't delivered or they're returned.

We’ve contacted HomeChoice (again).

4. Are we being sued?

In comes an email entitled "Court Notice".

“Our law firm is re-issuing the attached lawsuit filed against you by our client which requires your urgent attention. COURT SUMMONS Imminent: If this is not rectified within the next 48 hours. Read the lawsuit thoroughly. Regards, Paralegal - MML Law Firm.”
There are various warning signs. The email came from “info@legaconsult.com”. That domain appears to be genuine and used by a legal consultancy in Bulgaria. Notice also that no names were mentioned, neither theirs or ours.

The critical issue is that attachment. Inside that compressed "zipped") attachment was a Windows executable (".exe") file. What would that do if executed? Will it steal data? Would it encrypt all the documents on you computer and demand a ransom like WannaCry did two years ago? Would it install a keylogger that would record everything you typed, including your internet banking username and password?

The lesson is very simple. Don’t open email attachments from unknown sources. Never.

5. An old friend is back

I thought they'd gone away, but the paddlers of the Syntek "Xtreme Fuel Treatment"are still peddling...
“Here is the products that reduces fuel consumption resulting in increased kilometres per litre. It prolongs engine life and reduces engine wear. Improves vehicle performance and horsepower… Or join now and make money”.
We covered Syntek and their preposterous product in 2015, including quite an extensive review of the documents they claimed showed their product worked. It did not. On the contrary, it showed that there was NO evidence of any effect.

Think about it. If it worked, the petroleum industry would have bought it by now, either to use it and make more money or to suppress it. If it worked, wouldn't Botswana Oil have invested in it? They haven’t, none of them have.

Did I mention that it's a pyramid scheme?

6. Qualifications and awards

It's important to be skeptical. About everything. In particular it's important to be skeptical about the awards, prizes, qualifications and titles people say they've been awarded. For years we've been reporting the various fake qualifications people have obtained and the fake establishments that sold them their fake degrees. We've also covered the fake awards people received.

Some will remember the “International Biographical Centre” that awarded people various titles, including the “International Order of Merit” and the “Twentieth Century Achievement Award” and who could place you on the list of “2000 Outstanding Intellectuals of the 21st Century”.

Recently, Limkokwing University have very proudly announced that their founder, Tan Sri Limkokwing:
"has been bestowed with the title Lord Limkokwing of Holton, UK in recognition of his decades long advocacy of fusing the best talents of education, industry and peace-building to change the world."

That seems curious to me. He's not a British citizen and has no strong connections to the UK. Has he really been made a Lord? So I asked. Specifically, I contacted the House of Lords in the UK and asked them if they knew about this.

They said:
"We can confirm that Lord Limkokwing of Holton is not a member of the House of Lords. Not all persons with the title ‘Lord’ or ‘Baroness’ are members of the House."
They continued:
"The vast majority of people with a title are not members of the House of Lords, for example those people who purchase a title"
Yes, you can purchase a title if you aren't awarded a real one. Obviously I'm not suggesting that Limkokwing has done anything wrong. Not at all. However, I am suggesting that their claim can be misinterpreted with many people likely to think that he is a genuine Lord, a genuine member fo the House of Lords in the UK.

In fact, he's probably as much of a Lord as I am.

Which I am.

If it's good enough for others, it's good enough for me. Following the example of others claiming the title of Lord, I claim it myself. I bought myself a Lordship. Along with my two ordinations, that now makes me Rev Rev Lord Richard Harriman. Don't forget to stand up when I enter the room.

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