Friday, 22 March 2019

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Must I pay?

Please assist me to understand this below.

I had a child in English medium school doing Standard 4 in 2018 and in December I wrote to the school to notify them that I will transfer my child in January 2019. I had paid all school fees for Standard 4 and in response they informed me that according to school policy is either I offer a term notice or pay one term school fees in lieu of notice. I had to transfer my child as soon as possible for personal reasons. My question is that normal to charge a notice penalty of the term fees even if my child had not started Standard 5 with the school? Please advise?


Unfortunately giving a term’s notice is completely normal practice with private schools. If you check the terms and conditions in the contract I assume you signed when you first enrolled your child at the school you’ll probably find a clause stating this. If you think about it, it’s not unreasonable. Your child was occupying a place that another child could have taken and unless the school has a waiting list for students it could easily take them a term or longer to find a replacement for your child. Think of it like the notice you must offer when you leave a rented property.

You could try to avoid this by not paying the notice period but there’s a real risk that the school will engage an attorney and chase you for the money. Do you really want to run the risk of a judgment against you?

It might be worth asking the school if they can’t be a little bit more flexible, but I wouldn’t be optimistic. They’ll be within their rights to insist that you honour the agreement you signed.

Is CBN a pyramid scheme?

It most certainly is, there’s no doubt about it and they’re actively seeking new recruits right now as you read this.

I saw one of their advertisements which said that with CBN “It’s simple to work with us”, and that recruits could get medical assistance, legal aid assistance, grocery vouchers, international trips and scholarships. The advertisements even state that the business is “recruitment only” and that there is “no selling products”.






I contacted one of the recruiters and she was very keen to tell me all about it.

She told me that “already there are people who have benefited from it” and that “it’s all about you putting an effort and moving”. I asked whether it was just about recruiting other people or selling products and she was honest. “Just recruiting my dear, no selling of products at all”. I asked her if that made CBN a pyramid scheme and she said “I would say that in a way, Yes it does. Network marketing is all about having more people under you so that you advance to higher stages.”


I then asked, “With CBN it’s just about building a pyramid?” She said “yes, with CBN its all about building a pyramid”.


At least she’s honest!

The bad news for the people promoting CBN and even those joining it is that the new Consumer Protection Act states very clearly that it’s illegal for anyone to promote or even to “knowingly join, enter or participate, or cause any other person to promote, join, enter or participate in… a pyramid scheme”. You might ask whether qualifies as a pyramid scheme under the new Act? It most certainly does. It defines a pyramid scheme as a business where “where participants in the scheme receive compensation derived primarily from their respective recruitment of other persons as participants”. Isn’t that exactly what CBN and its recruiters say?


You might also ask what the penalties might be. That’s the good part. The Act says that anyone convicted of promoting or joining a pyramid scheme “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.” I really like the idea of seeing some CBN recruiters being led away in handcuffs. I’d pay to see that, wouldn’t you?

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

World Ventures still won't make you any money

Despite claiming to offer "The Road to Fun, Freedom and Fulfilment", the truth is less positive.

The latest "Annual Income Disclosure Statement" from World Ventures makes very poor reading. "Very poor" is probably an appropriate phrase because that's what joining World Ventures is likely to make you.

The figures that refer to their US operation in 2016 show firstly that 79.95% of the people who've joined make nothing from World Ventures. NOTHING.

Of those that make something:

  • 76.5% of all the money earned goes to the top 5.4%.
  • 73.7% of the people earning money share just 10.2% of the earning.
And average earnings? If you include just those people who make some money, the average earnings per year is a measly $355. If you include everyone in the scheme, it's a pitiful $30.


So, like all other pyramid and Multi-Level Marketing schemes, it's only the people at the top that make money and they only do so at the expense of the vast majority below them.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can she escape World Ventures?

I’m trying to help an elder who committed herself into some two ladies who said they are travel agents offering holiday packages. I was shocked to hear her side of the story that its almost a year now without hearing from them but they are taking a monthly direct debit order from her account of P300. She was traveling the other time so she tried to call and ask them if they can handle the flights and accommodation and travel expenses but they are nowhere to be found!!

The name of the travel agent website page is World Ventures.

We are kindly asking for help if we can stop the monthly transaction with the bank with this people?


This is very sad. Your elderly friend has fallen victim to a particularly heartless pyramid scheme.

World Ventures base their pyramid on supposed travel discounts but here’s a simple fact: discounts aren’t products. And anyway, there's no need to pay to join a discount when hotels give them away for free. You can get discounted hotel stays in South Africa but visiting booking.com, bid2stay.co.za or these days just use Airbnb where you can find some remarkably cheap places to stay anywhere in the world.

It’s also not a way to make any money, despite the promises of people desperately trying to recruit other members. The latest income figures that I’ve seen that they published for the USA showed that two thirds (actually 68.7%) of all the income went to the 3.7% at the top. The median annual income was a mere $33 (around P330). And that was income, not profit.

I suggest your friend contacts her bank immediately and tells them that the deductions are not authorised and that no further payments should be made.

The battery is dead!

I bought a second hand laptop from a second hand shop in Gaborone. I mentioned to the shop owner that I don’t have electricity yet at my house so I will be charging it at work and use it at home when I knock off. He said his laptops are new from UK and batteries are ok so I dont have to worry.

He showed me the Dell laptop which was in good condition, he plugged in the battery and within a minute the laptop went off and he said he forgot to charge it, but he had demonstrated most of what I needed in a laptop. I asked the seller how long the battery last and he said 1 hour at first, and that wasn’t bad. I then asked him are u sure and he was like maybe 30 minutes. So I handed him 1500 which was charged and I even told him I’m not satisfied about the 30 minutes but hey. I charged the laptop that evening, took it home and it went on for only 2 minutes, 2 minutes! Can u imagine.

I called him the next day to explain and he denied ever saying that it lasts for 30 minutes. And I asked him, why would I take a laptop without a battery when I do not have electricity, the guy denied and said I should read at the back their terms and conditions, which I had done. It stated that incase I return their product they will charge me 25% handling fee, which i did not understand.

I feel robbed.


I agree. You deserve to feel robbed. A laptop battery that lasts for 2 minutes is worthless.

It doesn’t really matter whether a laptop (or anything else) is new or second-hand, it must be as it was described to you. As the Consumer Protection Regulations put it, it must be “as advertised or represented”. It must also be “of merchantable quality” which means “fit for the purposes for which commodities of that kind are usually purchased, as it is reasonable to expect in light of the relevant circumstances”. That last bit is important. “in light of the relevant circumstances” means that you can’t expect a second-hand laptop to have the battery life of a brand new one. But it should be usable. It must function reasonably well considering its age. It must also be “fit for any particular purpose made known by the consumer”. You explained that you needed a laptop with decent battery life because you don’t have electricity at home. He knew that from the beginning so there’s no excuse. Send me his contact details and we’ll explain this to him, in terms simple enough that even he can understand it.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Is this a real doctorate?

I have been instrumental in the advancement of youth women and girls in STEM as well as equipping the upcoming generation with business and interpreanuarial skills. I have won numerous awards for my exceptional leaders and being a pioneer in my proffesion. I received an email from the London Graduate School saying I have just been offered a Honorary PhD by the Commonwealth University but they want me to pay a whopping $5,500 to come and get it in Dubai on a top leadership conference.

Can you kindly please sincerely assist with finding the credibility of this people?


As you’re an “exceptional leader” and a “pioneer” already I think you already know the answer, don’t you?

Real PhDs aren’t sold to people, they’re earned. Most doctorates are earned by lots of studying and research and certain exalted individuals are given honorary doctorates but they’re based on exceptional service or achievement. Neither group need to buy them with money.


It didn’t take long to discover that both the London Graduate School and the Commonwealth University are suspicious. To begin with both seem to share the same address at 34 South Molton Street in London, UK. Interestingly, that’s an address they seem to share with 183 other companies. Yes, it’s just a “serviced office space” where anyone can “rent” an office address for just £450. Given that they share an address I think it’s safe to assume that they’re the same organisation, don’t you?

34 South Molton St, London, W1K 5RG
The address of both establishments. You can buy some clothes while you're there.
Image c/o Google Street View
Another curious thing is that while the so-called “Commonwealth University” claims to be based at that address in London their domain is registered to an address in Nigeria. Isn’t that also a bit suspicious?

Update: The so-called "Commonwealth University" claims accreditation from the "International Association for Distance Learning" who offer a London address, "372 Old Street, London EC1V 9AU".


No surprise, this is also an accommodation address.

This seems to be just a money-making scheme. Personally I think it’s also a firm slap in the face to those people who have earned a doctorate the old-fashioned way through years of study, sleepless nights and loss of family time. It’s also an insult those who have been awarded honorary degrees following their service and achievement. The simple truth is that anyone who buys a bogus qualification is as much of a fraud as the bogus qualification they purchase.

Where’s my car?

I bought a car last year in June until today never received it. The guys are always saying before month end every time when I ask.

I paid P28,000 was still to balance them with P10,000 when the car arrive, the whole car was P38,000. We were communicating on WhatsApp. They were suggested by a friend and they have an agent here so tried to talk to him then he said he can't help because I was dealing with them directly.


This is going to be a difficult one. The most difficult problem to overcome is going to be that you don’t have anything in writing that explains when, how and where the vehicle will be delivered. WhatsApp conversations are fine but they’re not nearly as useful as a printed and signed sales agreement.

I think the best situation is to put something in writing now. No more phone calls, no more WhatsApp messages, this needs to be a letter that explains that you gave them the money in June last year, what exactly the money was for and when you expected the vehicle to be delivered. I suggest you make it clear that after eight months they’ve still failed to deliver the car you paid for they have still not provided it and you are now cancelling the deal completely and require your deposit to be returned to you “promptly” as required by Section 15 (1) (e) of the Consumer Protection Regulations. The word “promptly” isn’t precisely defined but if they haven’t given you the money back after maybe 14 days I think you should complain to the Licencing Department in the local council and suggest that their trade licence should be reviewed. That might encourage them to play a little more fairly.

You can also mention that we’re now interested in the case and if they’d like some free publicity in The Voice, just not of the best type, that can be arranged. Send me their contact details!

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Consumer Alert: International Bread Winners

Consumer Alert: International Breadwinners

Consumers are warned that a pyramid scheme calling itself International Bread Winners is actively recruiting people in Botswana.

They describe themselves as “A network marketing business where by u join with P100 and recruit 2 people and they will be registered under u. this 2 people they also recruit their 2 people. Is a business of 2x2. Everyone who joins must bring 2 people. Then u elevate as more people come on board and move stages.”


When asked whether the scheme has any products that are sold, or whether it is based solely on recruiting other members, they are very clear.


Another responded:


When asked, the promoters of the scheme describe the earnings people can make as follows:
STAGE 1 (INVESTOR)
YOU EARN $1 PER DOWNLINER
YOU NEED 6 PEOPLE TO COMPLETE STAGE 1
TOTAL PAYOUT $6(P60)

STAGE 2 (BRONZE)
YOU EARN $3 PER DOWNLINER
YOU NEED 14 PEOPLE THAT HAVE COMPLETED STAGE 1 UNDER YOU TO JOIN YOU IN STAGE 2.
TOTAL PAYOUT $42 (P420)

STAGE 3 (SILVER)
YOU EARN $20 PER DOWNLINER
YOU NEED 14 PEOPLE WHO HAVE COMPLETED STAGE 2 UNDER YOU TO JOIN YOU IN STAGE 3
TOTAL PAYOUT $280(P2800)
GROCERY $50 (P500)

STAGE 4 (GOLD)
YOU EARN $110 PER DOWNLINER
YOU NEED 14 PEOPLE WHO HAVE COMPLETED STAGE 3 UNDER YOU TO JOIN YOU IN STAGE 4
TOTAL PAYOUT $1540(P15 400)
GROCERY $100(P1 000)

STAGE 5 (COORDINATOR)
YOU EARN $500 PER DOWNLINER
YOU NEED 14 PEOPLE WHO HAVE COMPLETED STAGE 4 UNDER YOU TO JOIN YOU IN STAGE 5
TOTAL PAYOUT $7 000(P70 000)
A CAR WORTH $17 000(P170 000) WITH 2 DIRECT DOWNLINERS
GROCERY WORTH $200(P2 000)

STAGE 6 (COUNTRY COORDINATOR)
YOU EARN $1 600 PER DOWNLINER
YOU NEED 14 PEOPLE WHO HAVE COMPLETED STAGE 5 UNDER YOU TO JOIN YOU IN STAGE 6
TOTAL PAYOUT $22 400(P224 000)
FORTUNER WORTH $50 000 (P500 000)
GROCERY WORTH $250 (P2 500)

STAGE 7 (DIPLOMATIC COORDINATOR)
YOU EARN $8 000 PER DOWNLINER
YOU NEED 14 PEOPLE WHO HAVE COMPLETED STAGE 6 UNDER YOU TO JOIN YOU IN STAGE 7
TOTAL PAYOUT $112 000(P1 120 000)
MERCEDES BENZ WORTH $92 000(P920 000)
INTERNATIONAL TRIPS
GROCERY WORTH $300 (P3 000)

STAGE 8 (EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR)
YOU EARN $40 000 PER DOWNLINER
YOU NEED 14 PEOPLE WHO HAVE COMPLETED STAGE 7 UNDER YOU TO JOIN YOU IN STAGE 8
TOTAL PAYOUT $560 000( P5 600 000)
RANGE ROVER WORTH $150 000(P1 500 000)
HOUSE WORTH $300 000( P3 000 000)
GROCERY WORTH $350(P3 500)

INFINITY STAGE
AFTER STAGE 8 YOU WILL BE RECEIVING $40 000 EACH TIME ANYONE UNDER YOU DROPS INTO INFINITY STAGE.

NOTE:
EACH AMOUNT YOU SEE HERE WHEN YOU DO NOT TRANSFER IT TO YOUR PERSONAL BANK ACCOUNT AND SELL IT TO OTHER IBW PARTNERS IT DOUBLES.
They use the following image to describe their "marketing plan":


Section 9 of the 2018 Consumer Protection Act defines a pyramid scheme as:
“where participants in the scheme receive compensation derived primarily from their respective recruitment of other persons as participants”
The key thing is that there is either no product being sold or the product is only a minor part of the business. A pyramid scheme is all about recruiting multiple levels of other people and using their joining money to pay the people above them in the pyramid. Those people recruiting others into International Bread Winners are very clear that there are no products involved, just the recruitment of other people.

The Act goes on to say that people:
“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 pyramid scheme”
The penalties for breaking this rule can be a fine of up to P100,000, imprisonment for up to 5 years, or to both.

Consumers are urged not to enter into this or any other pyramid scheme.

Background information

The company suggests that they have an office in London but the address they offer appears to be in a residential complex and the UK telephone numbers they offer are both cellphone numbers. The only other number given is a Botswana-based cellphone number. It also appears that no company called "International Breadwinners" is registered in the United Kingdom.

The domain ("interenationalbreadwinners.com") was first registered to an address in India on 7th January 2019.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Radio show notes - week beginning 18th February 2019

Source: Wikipedia
2019 – 2019 – Predictions revisited

We started 2019 with some predictions of things we felt would happen in 2019. Let's see if they've come true yet.

1. Signing things

People will still sign things they shouldn’t sign, and won’t sign things that they should sign. they won’t read or understand hire purchase, tenancies or loans agreements and, most importantly, investments and insurance contracts. Some will continue to assume (incorrectly) that “verbal” agreements have some value when they later need to take action against someone who has abused them. People will continue to be exploited because of this.

Update: It wasn't really a consumer issue but someone contracted us with a tenancy issue. She'd moved in without signing an agreement. Subsequently the landlord had presented her with an agreement that included a with security deposit (which is normal) but she hasn't yet signed it.  Now the landlord wants to sell property (again that's a normal thing). Should she pay the deposit? Yes, if she wants the assurance of a tenancy and if she wants to stay there if the property is sold. However, if she wants to save some money, she can refuse to sign the agreement. But then she'll have no assurance that she can stay there.

Update: Someone asked: “Can somebody kindly explain to me how car insurance works. We have police report and my insurer says I should pay excess of P3,000?” I bet the "excess" payment is described in detail in the insurance policy. But has he read it recently? Or even at all?

2. Ponzi and pyramid schemes

These scams will continue to promise wealth, comfort and excitement in return for recruiting multiple levels of victims beneath us. But they only one real aim: to make lots of money for the people at the top and at the expense of those lower down. However, they’ll soon face the fact that, for the first time in our history as a nation, their schemes are now illegal. Section 9 of 2018 Consumer Protection Act makes this very clear.

Update: 4 Corners Alliance. I asked one of their recruiters a few questions.

Q: “Do we make money mainly from sales or recruiting.”
A. “From recruiting my dear. But if you want to sell you can still sell and make more”
Q. “But the easiest way is to recruit other people?”
A. “Yes my dear”

4 Corners Alliance is a pyramid scheme.

Update: “International Breadwinners”

They describe themselves as “A network marketing business where by u join with P100 and recruit 2 people and they will be registered under u. this 2 people they also recruit their 2 people. Is a business of 2x2. Everyone who joins must bring 2 people. Then u elevate as more people come on board and move stages.”

This scheme is run in Botswana by a pastor with the close involvement of his wife and daughter. Interestingly the couple were previously promoting Jamalife, another pyramid scheme.

I asked them some questions:

Q. “Do we sell products or do we just recruit other people?”
A. “we dnt sell anything”
Q. “It’s a pyramid scheme?”
A. “nope” (CW begs to differ)

He then said “I’m on duty driving will talk when I’m free.” What sort of duty might that be? It seems that as well as running church, he's a serving police officer.

Update: This has been posted around Facebook, apparently from The President but clearly NOT.


"you just pay the registration fees". That tells you all you need to know.

3. Magical health claims

Peddlers of miracle and magical health claims will find that Botswana is a harder place to sell their dangerous lies. They won’t go away but they will be silenced more quickly thanks to new and more effective regulators.

Update: Green World offer what they call a “medical scanner” otherwise known as the “Quantum Resonance Magnetic Analyser Machine”.



They claim that it can diagnose disorders such as “Anaemia, High blood pressure, Low blood pressure, Nutritional deficiency, Prostate disorder (not cancer), stroke, Low sperm count, hormonal imbalances, erectile dysfunction, ovarian cysts, cardiovascular problems, cerebrovascular problems, bone problems”.

BOMRA, the Medicines Regulatory Authority reported that:
“3 pharmacists were arrested in Francistown for allegedly selling unregistered and potentially harmful contraceptives. The 3 pharmacist (names withheld) were nabbed in a joint operation led by BOMRA inspectors and other law enforcement officers”
They later asked consumer to:
“join us in the fight against counterfeit & unregistered medical products (medicines, medical devices & cosmetics.) Play your part. Blow the whistle!! 0800 600 216”
Green World should beware!

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Is International Breadwinners legit?

Is International Breadwinners legit? People at my church are encouraging me to join but I’m suspicious.


No, it’s not legit, it’s a pyramid scheme and the people doing their best to recruit new members are open about it. Let’s begin by explaining what exactly a pyramid scheme is. Section 9 of the new Consumer Protection Act says that it’s a scheme “where participants in the scheme receive compensation derived primarily from their respective recruitment of other persons as participants”. The key thing is that there is either no product being sold or the product is only a minor part of the business. A pyramid scheme is all about recruiting multiple levels of other people and using their joining money to pay the people above them in the pyramid.

The new Act does on to say that people “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 pyramid scheme”. Did you see that it said that as well as forbidding promoting a pyramid scheme is also forbids people from even joining one?

The penalties can be severe. A fine of up to P100,000 or up to 5 years in prison. Or both.


I contacted some of the people recruiting victims into this “International Breadwinners” scheme and they were very open about how it works. I asked whether people sell products or just recruit other people and one of them, apparently a pastor and someone who claims to be a serving police officer was clear. “we dnt sell anything” he told me.



Another, who I believe is his wife, told me that there are “No products. You just get paid by recruiting”.


The people I contacted who are recruiting others in this scheme are open about it being a pyramid scheme. I suspect they will soon stop once they realise that the church they operate and their career in law enforcement are at risk. Do you want to face the same penalties they now face?

Is this a real job?

I got an offer through LinkedIn for a job in Russia from an individual by the name of Alesandr Boris Oil & Gas Limited. He told me of the available job vacancy at the organization which were 3 vacancies and asked me of my qualifications. I replied with my qualifications and he responded saying that I should forward my CV and necessary documents to his agent who will take care of the whole process for me to be able to come and be permitted to work in Russia. He gave me the email address of the agent who I managed to reach and he told me what documents he needs in order to process my permit to work in Russia, including transportation & accommodation. However the agent says that his services are not free and demands a fee of 1000 dollars. I told him and Mr Boris that I can’t afford that kind of money therefore Mr Boris says I should try negotiate with the Agent the amount I can afford of which I haven't done.

I was hoping if you can check if Alesandr Boris, his organization and his agents are not a scam. I had approached the police and they referred me to Consumer watchdog which is where I got your email address.

Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you advance.


I don’t need to do much research to say with certainty that this is a scam. The most obvious clue is that they want you pay the “agent” $1,000 to get your work permit. This is simply not how international recruitment works. Genuine companies pay for everything when they recruit someone from overseas. They pay for flights and accommodation and they certainly cover the cost of getting whatever visas might be necessary. They pay them. Not you, not the recruit.

Another clue is quite simple. Why would they offer a job in the oil and gas industry to someone on the other side of the planet who doesn’t have any experience in that industry? And another thing. They didn’t interview you face-to-face? It’s simply not realistic.

This is the beginning of an advance fee scam. The $1,000 (which is curiously flexible when you say you can’t afford it) is what this is all about. If you were to pay them they’ll just continue to invent a list of other payments until you either run out of money or finally realise that you’re being scammed. I suggest that you delete the emails and any others you receive like this.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Consumer Alert - Planet Online FInance

Consumer Alert - Planet Online Finance

Yet another fake lender running an advance fee scam. They advertise on Facebook as follows:
"Good Day south Africa
Please take your time to read through this post from the first line to the last before making any comments or questions.
We offer loan to blacklisted client,Business persons,Government employee,workers etc and client that are on ITC.
We offer loan to all SADC member states.(Angola, Botswana, Congo (DR), Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe ).
All loan Application are processed and transferred from our office here in south Africa.
PLANET ONLINE FINANCE PTY LTD, Our obligation is helping the needy to gain financial stability in order to meet with the demands of living. Contact us at::([hidden information]) or call us on 0786168532 + Whatsapp Messages
We give out loans from the range of R10,000.00 to R10,000,000.00, at 3% interest rate Our loans are well insured and maximum security is our priority,
PLANET ONLINE FINANCE is a legitimate and well known lending company based in , SOUTH AFRICA.
We offer loans to individuals as well as organizations who have intentions of renovating houses and institutions, debt consolidation, re-financing and also establishment of business outfits. We give out our Loan in an currency of your choice.
* Are you financially Squeezed?
* Do you seek funds to pay off credits and debts
* Do you seek finance to set up your own business?
* Are you in need of private or business loans for various purposes?
* Do you seek loans to carry out large projects
* Do you seek funding for various other processes?
WE OFFER THE FOLLOWING TYPES OF LOANS:
*Commercial Loans.
*Personal Loans.
*Business Loans.
*Investments Loans.
*Development Loans.
*Acquisition Loans .
*Construction loans.
*Business Loans And many More:
REQUIREMENT NEEDED FOR LOAN TO BE APPROVED.
1: Color Copy of I.D / Valid Passport
2: Latest 3 Months Bank Statement
3: Latest Payslip, C.K/ Business Profile for Business Loan
4: Latest Proof of Residence.
QUALIFICATION:
1. Blacklisted can apply
2. No credit check
3. Debt review or court order can apply
4. ITC can apply
5. other countries outside South Africa can apply
Your Satisfaction and Financial Success is Our Aim.We are hoping to hear from you soon
You can also call us or send message through whatsapp: 0786168532."
The obvious clues include:
  • No landline number, just a cellphone.
  • Not even an email address.
  • No physical address.
  • Astonishingly cheap loans and HUGE amounts of money available.
I contacted these people and asked for a loan of P100,000, based on a monthly salary of P15,000. They responded with:
"Please can you send me ur I'd number along with ur names with ur cell phone number. Let me check if u qualify for a loan in our company".
I responded with a FAKE name and ID number. They responded:
"Let me check if u qualified for ur loan, I will get back to u ok".
Exactly 10 minutes later they said:
"Congregation, ur loan has been approved ok (...) Your monthly installment for 60 months , is 1796.87 Loan interest R 7812.20 Total payment R 107812.20. Your registration fee is R2500. This fee will enable us to register your information in our system and the release of your loan into your bank account. But this fee will be refunded back to you after three working days."
Of course this is what it's all about. The "registration fee" of R2,500.

I asked for their company details and they gave me an incomplete SA company registration number. However, a little detective work showed that no company called "Planet Online Finance" is registered in South Africa and the number they use has also been used before by "Bridge finance loan", an identical loan scam.

Please don't waste your time, money and effort on this scam.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Radio show notes - week beginning 11th February 2019

Source: Wikipedia
2019 – The Year of Consumer Education - Part 2

The big theme for Consumer Watchdog in 2019 will be consumer education. Lots of it.

But where do consumers need to be educated? What are the biggest threats to our welfare? What do we need to know?

We asked the member of the Consumer Watchdog Facebook group what issues they thought we should address. This is what they said.

1. Food safety and hygiene

We've discussed food labelling many times, particularly the use of “Best before” dates and “Expiry” dates. The difference is actually quite simple. Expiry dates matter, they're important, it's illegal for a store to sell something after its Expiry date. Best Before dates just offer advice on when a product will be in the best condition. There's nothing legally wrong with selling something after a Best Before date. But that doesn't make it good practice.

Who should be educating the public on food safety? The Ministry of Health and Wellness? Ministry of Basic Education? The food industry? Consumer Watchdog?

Which stage in the food chain is the most dangerous?

Look in the mirror. We consumers poison ourselves far more often than the food industry does.

Do we ever read the ingredients on packages?

This is the list of ingredients on the back of a packet of Oxtail soup. You remember that oxtail is beef, don't you?


This soup is 0.01% beef. That's 1/10,000th of the packet. That's effectively NO beef at all. None. In Oxtail soup. The main ingredient is something called maltodextrin which Wikipedia describes as follows:
“Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide that is used as a food additive. It is produced from starch by partial hydrolysis and is usually found as a white hygroscopic spray-dried powder. Maltodextrin is easily digestible, being absorbed as rapidly as glucose and might be either moderately sweet or almost flavorless (depending on the degree of polymerisation). It is commonly used for the production of soft drinks and candy. It can also be found as an ingredient in a variety of other processed foods.”
Why would you want to consume this product which isn't actually food?

2. Bitcoin (yet again)

Is Bitcoin an investment? No. It's value has dropped from its peak at almost $20,000 to a mere $3,600, a drop of over 80%. Does that sound like an investment? But it's still being sold as a way of making money. It's also surrounded by a huge range of pyramid and Ponzi schemes.

We need a lot more education on this.

3. Medicines and cosmetics

BOMRA, the Medicines Regulatory Authority replaces the Drug Regulatory Unit in the Ministry of Health and Wellness. It's remit covers medicines, medical devices and cosmetics.

But why is this important?


Because of companies like Green World who offer for sale a “medical scanner” they call their “Quantum Resonance Magnetic Analyser Machine”. They claim this bogus device can diagnose disorders such as:
“Anaemia, High blood pressure, Low blood pressure, Nutritional deficiency, Prostate disorder (not cancer), stroke, Low sperm count, hormonal imbalances, erectile dysfunction, ovarian cysts, cardiovascular problems, cerebrovascular problems, bone problems”.
Dangerous lies like this are why we need BOMRA.

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Should I join AIM Global?

I read what you wrote about Alliance In Motion (AIM) Global in the newspapers last year. It is now back in Gaborone to recruit members. My question is: "Is it now a proper company to join?"


No, please don’t even think of joining Alliance In Motion. Nothing has changed since they first appeared all the way from the Philippines to sell their scheme.

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. If you read Section 9 of the new Consumer Protection Act you’ll see it explains that a pyramid scheme is “where participants in the scheme receive compensation derived primarily from their respective recruitment of other persons as participants”. That’s exactly how AIM describe their business.





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. Not only does the Penal Code forbid such advertisements, but the new Medicines Regulatory Authority are going to want to ask some questions as well.


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.


So, do you really want to associate with a company that has broken the rules set by the Ministry of Health, BOMRA, BOBS and by the law itself? Did I mention that the new Consumer Protection Act says that even joining a pyramid scheme, not just operating or promoting it, can lead to a fine of up to P100,000 and imprisonment for up to five years?

Can I demand a new phone?

On 25th October i bought a Lenovo K6 phone from a store in Game City. Around 28th January the battery seemed to have a problem as it could not fully charge even if I left it charging overnight. On 2nd February the phone was completely off and could not charge. I took it back to the store where they promised they'll fix the battery. On 8th February I went to check my phone only to find its screen broken with a crack diagonally connecting two of its corners. I talked to the manager about it and she admitted it was one of her employees fault then she told me to come and collect it today around lunch time as they will fix the screen. I just said yes BUT throughout the night I was thinking about my phone and wondering what if the phone was dropped or knocked breaking the internal circuit? They might just fix the screen and next week it will give me another problem. So I wanted to know if I have any right to demand a new phone to replace this one as they have already voided its warranty. I am afraid the fixed or replaced screen is not going to give me the satisfaction that I got from the original screen of the phone.


It might seem unfair but there is currently no right to demand a replacement when a product is faulty. You are entitled to one of the three Rs: a refund, a repair or a replacement but it’s the decision of the supplier to decide which they offer you. They’re entitled to do their best to repair the phone to the condition it was in when you gave it to them.

However, I also think you’re entitled to ask them for some evidence that the phone is back to its original condition. I would ask them for a technical report that states that the battery and charging mechanism are back to normal but also exactly what you asked for, an assurance that the screen repair didn’t cause any other damage. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable thing to ask.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Radio show notes - week beginning 4th February 2019

Source: Wikipedia
2019 – The Year of Consumer Education

The big theme for Consumer Watchdog in 2019 will be consumer education. Lots of it.

But where do consumers need to be educated? What are the biggest threats to our welfare? What do we need to know?

We asked the member of the Consumer Watchdog Facebook group what issues they thought we should address. This is what they said.

1. The small print

One of the biggest mistakes consumers make is not reading and understanding the small print of agreements before signing agreement. The lesson is very simple. Don't EVER sign something you haven't read and fully understood.

There are also times when it's critically important that consumers DO sign things. Whenever you buy or sell something, make sure both parties sign a sale agreement. It doesn't need to be complicated, it just needs to identify the seller and buyer, describe the condition of the item and the sale price, acknowledges that full payment was made and that ownership has now been transferred. Add a date and some signatures and you have a sale agreement.

It's not a consumer issue but we recently received the following message:
“i have been working as a security man since the 24th until the 9th, the man is refusing to pay and during the time i was working for him, he didnt take good care of me nor enquire about my well-being, right now he is not answering my phone when i tell him to pay me, please help me out”
I asked "Did you have a contract of employment?" He responded:
"No sir, we just agreed by word of mouth and that was the first and last time i saw him"
He's likely to be out of luck.

2. Taxation

Benjamin Franklin apparently said that, "in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes".

So many people contact us asking about the taxes and duties imposed by BURS on imported goods. We need to do some more research.

3. Medical aid

Yet another form of insurance but it is still often misunderstood. What is covered? What's excluded? The answer, like with any insurance policy, is to ask questions and understand the policy before you commit to it.

4. Consumer rights

Consumer need to know a lot more about their existing right, those offered by the 2001 Consumer Protection Regulations but now we have the new 2018 Consumer Protection Act. That will be a key part of the 2019 project.

5. Bank charges

One of the banks recently started charging certain customers a P10 monthly fee which came as a surprise to many of them. When prompted, the bank stated that they had alerted customers in newspaper notices last year. But is that good enough?

Banks are required to publish details of their charges but what does "publish" mean? In 2019, surely it means Facebook and Twitter as well as the newspapers?

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Where is my refund?

Please I need help, I paid a garage in Mogoditshane a deposit to buy a car, and I no longer need the car. The garage has paid back 2 instalments of 5k and still owing 24k. To this day they're all quiet, I took them to the consumer office in ministry of trade and they called them they never showed up, and the office said there is nothing they can do maybe I can try lawyers. I have legal insurance so I engaged them and they rejected me because the debt is more than six months even though proof of payments show that my last instalment was in September. They wrote demand letter which to this day the garage has not honoured. As a consumer I feel so helpless and ask for advice and guidance and if possible help me recover my 24k.


I find it surprising how shameless some suppliers can be and this is a particularly extreme case. This garage ignored you, they ignored the Consumer Protection Unit and they ignored your attorneys. I think the time has come to escalate this situation to a much higher level.

In normal circumstances I would mention that Section 15 (1) (e) of the Consumer Protection Regulations says that when an agreement, such as yours, “is rescinded, cancelled, or otherwise terminated” a supplier must return any deposit or payment “promptly”. It doesn’t say “eventually”, “at their convenience” or “whenever they feel like it”, it says “promptly”.

I’ll get in touch with the garage and see if they’d like to become a lot more popular by being named and exposed as the sort of company that ignore its customers, the Consumer Protection Unit, attorney and the requirements of the law.

Is the Green World scanner legit?

There is something called Green World group, I understand you buy a scanner and test people. The scanner will show you what the body lacks then you sell them those supplements that the machine would have shown they lack. My worry is it operates more like a pyramid scheme and another question is it really legal to recommend or issue supplements when you don't have any medical background?


No, it certainly is NOT legal to diagnose medical conditions unless you are a qualified and registered health professional. We’ve covered Green World several times over the last few years. They market and distribute a range of so-called “alternative”, herbal health products about which they make some extraordinary claims. The last time I was in contact with them one of their local distributors told me that they “treat all known disorders. Just to name a few: Diabetes type 1,2, BP, Cancer, Obesity, Period pains, Fiberiods, Libido, Low sperm count, Infertility, Prostate disorders etc”.

Those are illegal medical claims. They’re also extremely dangerous. While it’s clear that their products can’t do all of these things, the danger is that people who are suffering from these disorders will take a Green World substance instead of seeking professional medical help. That will leave Green World and their distributors with blood on their hands.


Then there is this ridiculous scanner they market. They have the nerve to refer to it as a “medical scanner” and as the “Quantum Resonance Magnetic Analyser Machine”. I found one Green World web site that claimed that this machine can diagnose disorders such as “Anaemia, High blood pressure, Low blood pressure, Nutritional deficiency, Prostate disorder (not cancer), stroke, Low sperm count, hormonal imbalances, erectile dysfunction, ovarian cysts, cardiovascular problems, cerebrovascular problems, bone problems”. These are illegal claims and I’ve already forwarded them to BOMRA, our new Medicines Regulatory Authority for their investigation.


And finally, yes, they look remarkably like a pyramid scheme, encouraging new recruits to build multiple levels of people beneath them, and promising a range of amazing benefits that, like with all pyramid schemes and even Multi-Level Marketing companies, are empty promises.


In fact, everything about Green World is bogus and the sooner they’re stopped from marketing these illegal and dangerous products the better.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Radio show notes - week beginning 28th January 2019

Source: Wikipedia
1. Funding – where to get it. Not from Africa Funders

Where do you get funding for a business venture?

You might start with the banks but they can be conservative, perhaps a little closed-minded. They won't often share your vision.

Then there are the riskier options.

Companies like "Africa Funders". We warned people about this company, who described themselves as “Africa’s biggest online lending platform”, in 2017, saying that we felt they were a bit too suspicious to be trusted.

They offered a strange business model. They said that we “Can work with them by either: Becoming a funder, Applying for funding” and that “60,000+ Personal and Businesses Borrowers Network that has engaged with us in last 5 years”, that "$10,000,000+ loan/deal values funded” and “220+ Business deals/loans funded”.

We recently heard from one person had invested “P11,383.00 with Africa Funders in 2017" and that " the particular investment was to yield 10% profit. Then we were only paid P3127.” Despite subsequent promises, nothing came forth. They told me that:
“Last year which was 2018 we went there only to find that their offices have moved and no one has any idea where they have gone. None of their contact lines work. We don't know where to get hold of them and it seems that they have packed and left with a lot of people's money.”
Another victim contacted us saying:
“We sold them shares in our business. They then took over the running of the business. They took over all the paperwork and any sales made were paid directly into their business account. We later found out (when wages etc couldn’t be paid) that they would change the invoice and the customers were informed to pay into their company account. This left no money in our account to cover any running costs of the business. The staff took us to labour, as we were the management of the company. We are still busy paying off debt. We took them to court and won the case, but the deputy sheriff has never been able to locate them to serve the final court order.”
2. Another potential funder

Here's a similar story. Maybe you can get funding from another company (which will remain nameless for now). We were told that after a joining fee of P2,000 you can be offered a:
“package up to P600 000. The loan is payable in 5 years. You are given a period of 5 years to clear it up. [The company] will be doing production with you all the way, trainings and mentorship.”
However, in return for this, the company “Takes 2.5% commission from your net profit” and
“The company will be signatories to the business account. This is to monitor the use of finances. There is no how we can use money without your approval, the same as you, you cannot take money without us approving it. This is where we will know how much you made and how much net profit you made where a 2.5 % commission will come from.”
In effect, “they will be controlling everything in the business”.

Be cautious. Be very cautious.

3. The Regulators

Who are the regulators and what are they doing?

BOCRA. They cover communications, telecoms, TV, internet access. Look at the legal action they took in recent times against certain suppliers.

Bank of Botswana. They cover banks, Bureaux de Change, money transfer schemes. The banks are reasonably well-behaved but are we seeing enough from them?

Botswana Bureau of Standards. Filling stations, Weights and Measures, new tyres, bottled water, domestic electrical items, there's a long list of products they regulate. As you read this there's probably a BOBS specialist out there testing something, helping to protect you and me.

NBFIRA. They might even have too much to do. They cover microlenders, insurance companies (including brokers and agents), pension schemes, investment and financial advisors, the list goes on.

The Botswana Medicines Regulatory Authority (BOMRA). They cover medicines (having recently taken over from the Drug Regulatory Unit in the Ministry of Health and Wellness) and cosmetics. A very good start but do we really want the Shampoo Police?

The MITI CPU (say it out loud). The Consumer Protection Unit in the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry. Soon to be Competition and Consumer Authority (once it merges with the Competition Authority) and responsible for enforcing the 2018 Consumer Protection Act.

What do all of this regulators have in common? They all need us. They can't be everywhere but we can be. They need us to make complaints to shout about abuse, to make as much noise as possible so they can do their job.

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Is Siza Charity Network legit?

Is Siza Charity Network above board since they claim they can make you a millionaire if you pay R500 to join. Kindly advise.


The so-called Siza Charity Network is a pyramid scheme, it’s a simple as that.

They on their web site that they’re “a non governmental organisation registered and established in South Africa” which is true but they’ve only been registered since 4th January and their domain was registered just before the New Year. This is a company that is less than a month old.


Their business model is very simple. There are no products, no services, nothing at all, it’s just about recruiting multiple levels of people and making profit from the money they pay to join. Siza have been imaginative and have given these levels names: Builder, Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Diamond, Crown diamond, Ambassador and Crown Ambassador. However, the curious thing is that these are exactly the names that was used by the Jamalife pyramid scheme last year. Either it’s the same people running a new scheme or they’ve just stolen the idea from other scammers.

I had a WhatsApp conversation with one of the people recruiting people into the scheme and I asked a simple question: “Do I need to sell anything?”. I got an answer that explains everything you need to know: “U don’t sell anything you recruit 2 people to join under you an tell those people to do the same.” I asked if members make money just by recruiting other and she told me “Yes dear”.

I urge you to avoid wasting your time, effort and money on this obvious scam. Even if you could believe anything they say, to reach the top and achieve the millionaire status they promise, I’ve done the maths and you would need to build a pyramid of almost 17,000,000 people. You think that’s likely?

Is my boyfriend real?

My boyfriend is deployed in Syria by the US military and has asked his 'lawyers' to process my application to come and join him in the US. My boyfriend says he doesn't have access to money in his account to pay and he was asking me to pay the money to the lawyer Kennedy Solicitors for processing fees.

If you can kindly use your informed and trusted sources to verify if indeed such company exists in the US and they are a registered law firm. I'm a but skeptic with the lawyers way of writing as I have so much respect for the profession. Please let me know if you can help before I find myself scammed.


I’m sorry but you are our first romantic scam victim of 2019.

Unfortunately, everything you’ve been told has been a lie. The emails and messages you sent me are typical of this sort of scam. He sent you pictures of himself in uniform and off duty but I was able to trace several of them quite easily on the web.



They’ve been taken from a range of sources and trust me, none of them are the person you’ve been communicating with. I was also able to find that several of the pictures had been used before with other scam victims around the world. Also, and please forgive me for being skeptical, real people don’t propose marriage to someone they’ve never actually met. Not unless they’re either very na├»ve or more likely they have an agenda.


The “lawyer” they asked you to pay doesn’t exist either. Real, respectable attorneys don’t use free email addresses. They also don’t use words like “hubby”.

This is all about the money they want you to pay for this fictitious “processing fee” of $850. I suggest that, hard though it might be, you delete the emails and messages these scammers sent you and put this behind you. I’m genuinely sorry for the upset you’ve been through.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Radio show notes - week beginning 21st January 2019

Source: Wikipedia
How to spot pyramid schemes and Ponzi schemes

Example 1. 50/50 Crowdfunding

50/50 are busy recruiting on FB and real life as you read this.

They describe the process.  You "register" for $29 (about P325) and then you'll "be allocated two people” who each “make donations of $125 (P1,400) each making (P2,800) to the two people allocated”.

You then need to recruit 6 people beneath you and the pyramid starts to build.
“1. level $250 will earn you $750 (P8,400) in one week”
“2. Upgrade to Level $500 will earn you $1,500 (P16,800) in one week”. 
Etc etc etc until you reach Level 5 when they say you'll get $23,250 (P260,000).

I asked one of their active recruiters “Do we have to sell products or just recruit people?” and her answer was very simple:
“No selling of products”
Let's do some arithmetic If 6 new people are recruited at each level and they then each recruit another 6, by Level 5 there will be 9,330 people in the pyramid. They will have paid a total of P3,032,250 to join. And you get a miserable P260,000. Someone somewhere is making a lot of money BUT leet's face it, they're not really. There aren't enough gullible people to make that work This is all about the small payments victims make to join this obvious pyramid scheme.

The clues? Magic words (crowdfunding), multiple levels, exponential growth, impossible targets and the phrase “No selling of products”.

Example 2. Siza Charity Network

The Siza Charity Network describes itself as:
“an international platform as well as a global family. It is a non governmental organisation registered and established in South Africa”
The company does indeed exist but was registered in South Africa on 4th Jan 2019. Their domain was registered on 27th Dec 2018. This scheme is less than a month old.

They say that their plan is to
"build a solid financial base devoid of slavery, over bearing points and balancing that creates a stumbling block for active networkers to count their blessings."
That appears to mean nothing.

Their scheme consists of several levels as follows: Builder, Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Diamond, Crown diamond, Ambassador and Crown Ambassador.

Hang on. Doesn't that sound familiar? This is an exact copy of the Jamalife pyramid scheme that was busy stealing people's money last year. Either this is the same people or it's a case of one pyramid scheme stealing from another.

As with Jamalife the promises are extravagant. If you reach the top level, Crown Ambassador you'll:
"Become a shareholder, Non Cash Incentives A family home worth 2 million, An Investment Property worth R1million, Furniture worth R500 000, Infinity Bonus of all your direct downlines R200 000.00, R200 000.00 Infinity allowance from all direct downlines becoming Crown ambassadors"
I asked one of their recruiters the usual question “Do I need to sell anything?” and I got the expected answer:
“U don’t sell anything you recruit 2 people to join under you an tell those people to do the same.”
And then “So we make money just by recruiting others?”
“Yes dear”
The clues? Multiple levels, crazy numbers, a copy of previous pyramid scheme, the fact that they admit it's all about recruitment and the big one, that in order to reach “Crown Ambassador” level, you'd need to recruit 16,777,214 people.

Example 3. CBN aka "Charity Begins Nathi"

CBN offers the expected model of multiple levels of recruitment.

At Stage 1 you get R60, at Stage 2 R120, Stage 3 bring you R1,100 and a R900 smartphone etc etc etc until you get to Stage 8 when you get R1.2 million plus a car worth R1.2 million, a house worth R2.5 million and furniture worth R500,000.

Again, the arithmetic doesn't work well. To get to the top you'd need to have 2,015,538 in the pyramid beneath you.

And yet again the conversation I had with a CBN recruiter told the same story. It's “Recruitment only”, “No selling products” and “Simply recruit them to join under you, and you will be making money.” 

The clues? See above!

The penalties

Section 9 of the 2018 Consumer Protection Act defines a pyramid scheme as:
“where participants in the scheme receive compensation derived primarily from their respective recruitment of other persons as participants”.
It goes to say that people:
“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 pyramid scheme”
Did you see that? Even joining a pyramid scheme is forbidden.

And if you're caught? You can face a fine of up to P100,000 or jail for up to 5 years. Or both.



And another thing. Academic fraud.

A company calling itself “WritersBlock”, apparently based in Zimbabwe advertise that:
“We can help you with essays, assignments, research paper, coursework, dissertations and more. All papers 100% unique, delivery on time, affordable cost, complete privacy of your info.”
I contacted them and asked if they could write a Masters-level dissertation for me. Yes, they said, for just $900. Referring to their customers in Botswana they claim to have helped "4 Undergraduate and 3 Masters students last year". When pushed further they told me they were "2 from Botho University and the rest UB."

I asked another company, “Prime Tutors” who are based in Botswana the same question. "Can you write a Masters dissertation for me?" They said:
"Yes we can" 
"Even now we have some projects for environmental science(Ph.D. ), 2 projects for education management( masters). Others are undergraduates"
All it would take was P4,000. And the subjects available?
"Education management, marketing, accounting, psychology, environment management"
Regarding the finished product:
"It will be in your name. It will be yours"
When I asked whether submitting a dissertation written by someone else as if it was my work might be fraudulent, I was told:
"All professors work with research assistants"
and 
"As long as you read and conceptualize it. Even Obama's speeches are written by other people"
I disagree.

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Is this a real job offer?

Please help me in confirming the authenticity of the company called ISFuels (claiming to be based in the USA). Last month the flouted some job vacancies through some local newspapers. I applied for one the position with the believe that the company is planning to set-up a branch here in Botswana.A week later they responded to me by sending a questionnaire (interview) of which I answered and sent back. Three days later they sent me an offer letter but i am a bit skeptical about the whole issue.

You are the fifth person who has approached us about this supposed job offer in the last couple of weeks. Like you, all the others responded to the advertisements, mostly on Facebook, thinking that they were communicating with “ISFuel Inc” that claims to be a fuel company based in Texas, USA. In fact there really is a company called “ISFuel Inc” in Texas but this isn’t who you or the other people have been talking to.

The clues are simple. Firstly these job offers aren’t coming from iSFuels.com, they’re coming from people with free email addresses. It’s also curious that they don’t give a single telephone number. I suspect they don’t want people contacting them and asking difficult questions.

The other clues are in the job offer itself. Everyone has been offered the same job, “Assistant Administrative Manager”, a job that they say offers a monthly salary of $4,800 (nearly P600,000 per year), free “feeding and accommodation”, medical aid, sports facilities, flights, annual leave and relocation. You have to ask yourself, why would a company in a country with over 6 million unemployed people want to recruit someone to a basic level position from the far side of the planet?

The answer is simple. Because they want your money. Some of the other potential victims got to a later stage in this recruitment scam when they were asked for money for a visa fee. That’s what this is all about, the “advance fee” that gives this scam its name. Thankfully, none of the people who’ve contacted us have paid anything yet, but who knows how many other have? Please spread the word to everyone you know.

Where’s my bag?

On Saturday 22nd I went into a store at Rail Park Mall. I put my bag containing my house keys at the parcel counter and was given a disc for my luggage. I went into the store to buy things, but when I went to claim my luggage I was given a different bag from mine and I told the attendant that that was not mine.

She informed her supervisor about the ordeal who started checking the cctv footage which showed me while handing in my bag. Unfortunately the footage can't show how my bag got out. I’m told all this has been reported to their security personnel for assessment but to now haven't heard anything from them since then.

On Sunday I was asked to submit the estimated value for everything that was in the bag. Please help.


I don’t like parcel counters and I don’t trust them. More specifically I don’t trust the stores that have them. I don’t trust them to look after the goods that are left with them and your story is yet more proof of how untrustworthy they are.

Part of the problem is that stores know themselves that they can’t be trusted. That’s why there’s almost always a disclaimer by the parcel counter saying that they take no responsibility if goods left there are lost or stolen. If they don’t trust themselves to look after your property, why should we trust them?

I suggest that we escalate this issue to the senior management at this chain of stores. Regardless of any disclaimer they might have, they still had a moral responsibility to look after your goods with some care. The fact that their CCTV conveniently didn’t record your bag being taken should surely raise their suspicions as well as ours.

Meanwhile, the good news is that they want a list of the items in your bag. That suggests to me that they’re thinking about compensating you. I think they know they’re responsible somehow. You should give them the list and don’t be shy about the value of the items that were in your bag. Include the cost of changing all the locks at your house as well. Who knows who has your house keys right now so you need to be cautious and protect the security of your home.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Radio show notes - week beginning 14th January 2019 - Predictions

Source: Wikipedia
Predictions for 2019

Here are our predictions for 2019. No, we don't have psychic abilities, just enough evidence and intuition to feel certain that they'll come true.

1. People will still sign things they shouldn’t sign, and won’t sign things that they should sign

People will continue not to read and understand hire purchase and loan agreements, tenancies and, most importantly, investments and insurance product policies. They'll carry on assuming (incorrectly) that “verbal” agreements have some value when they later need to take action against someone who has abused them. This failure will be exploited by less-than-honest people.

2. Cellular network operators

We will continue to be disappointed, frustrated and angered by cellular network providers who appear to be short-changing us with airtime, data and general quality of service.

3. Some event organisers will continue to be useless

Is any further explanation necessary?

4. Ponzi and pyramid schemes

Ponzi and pyramid schemes will continue to promise wealth, comfort and excitement in return for recruiting multiple levels of victims beneath us. They will have only one aim: to make lots of money for the people at the top and at the expense of those lower down. However, they’ll soon face the fact that, for the first time in our history as a nation, their schemes are now illegal. Section 9 of 2018 Consumer Protection Act will make a difference.

5. Electricity and water will continue to increase in price

That’s just how life is.

6. Public transport providers

Some public transport providers will continue to be awful, horrible people who hold their paying customers in contempt and will continue to employ psychopaths as drivers.

7. Miracle cures

Peddlers of miracle and magical health claims will find that Botswana is a harder place to sell their dangerous lies. They won’t go away but they will be silenced more quickly thanks to new and more effective regulators.

8. Regulators

Regulators with an interest in consumer protection will be a bit more effective BUT only if consumers demand that they do and support them by raising issues and submitting complaints to them. BOCRA, BOMRA, BOBS, NBFIRA are all being more active. We pay for them to exist, so let’s get our money’s worth.

9. Best Before and expiry dates

Best Before dates will continue to be just advisory. Expiry dates will continue to be the things that matter. Consumers will continue not to understand the difference.

10. My Salary might have competition

There will be even more dedicated, inspirational and amazing people working in customer service.

11. It's 2019 

Some companies will understand that it’s 2019 and the ways they engaged with customers in the past are out-dated. They’ll understand that, whether they like it or not, consumers can now express their feelings wherever, whenever and however they like. And there’s nothing companies can do about that. Their choice will be to accept that and work with it, or die.

12. Bitcoin

People will continue to say that Bitcoin is the future of money but they’re probably related to those who said MySpace was the future of the internet. Something like Bitcoin might end up being important and blockchain technology is fascinating but don’t believe the hype. It’s an area that will continue to have more than its fair share of Ponzi and pyramid schemes and other scams. Victims will lose a lot of money.

13. 2019

In 2019 Consumer Watchdog will spend even more time on consumer education. I mean LOTS more time. Watch this space!