Saturday, 3 April 2021

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can I return it?

Can you help me? I bought a fluffy mat and I paid P1100. I had bought another one at P1200 before this one and a fluffy blanket, so I negotiated to P1100. But It's not the same as the one I bought first. It's low quality and now they can't take it and refund me, I don't know their offices coz they claim to be mobile. They don't take my calls. It's been 3 months since I bought the mat. I Whatsapp and call them every day. I have run out of options coz they don't even take my office call since they established its me calling them.

So I have been calling them to get it so that they can refund me but they not taking my calls after they agreed to collect it.

I used to be dismissive of many businesses that didn't have offices and that are 'mobile' but that's changed completely in the last few years. In fact I'm now really supportive of start-up businesses that operate from home or have distributed workforces. That obviously works for technology businesses but it's increasingly how call centers and the service industry operate. And then came Covid and that forced almost everyone to think carefully about they run their business. Yes, we still need checkout workers in supermarkets but even that's changing now that so many of them offer deliveries. So in 2021 we can expect to see more and more companies being 'mobile'.

But that doesn't change their obligation, as a supplier of goods, to do so as required by the Consumer Protection Act. Section 15 (1) of the Act says that a consumer "has the right to receive goods which are of good quality, in good working order and free of defects". You have the good luck to have previously bought the same item from this supplier so you know how good the products can be and can spot when the later goods aren't as good.

I contacted the supplier and told them that you'd been in touch. Let's see if they want to talk now?

How do I know if someone is trying to scam me?

The last year has seen a dramatic increase in the number of scams that are trying to exploit our ignorance and steal our money. Almost everyone on Facebook will have seen invitations to "invest" in Bitcoin, forex trading or binary options. All of them are scams. All of them want your money.

Here are some tips on how to spot these scams and how you can avoid falling victim to them.

The first question you should always ask yourself is why someone wants you to join their scheme. What's in it for them? Why would they want someone else to make money alongside them? Surely anyone would keep a money-making scheme to themselves rather than sharing the money with others, in particular a stranger?

The reason is very simple. They want you to join their scheme because they want to make money FROM you, not WITH you. They make money from recruiting new victims, not from any genuine investment.

Another clue it's a scam is if the people asking you to join or invest are shy about who and where they are. You should always ask these people to say exactly where they are and then demand they show themselves. Insist on a video call. Insist on hearing their voices. One of the scammers I recently spoke to claimed to be a successful businessman in the USA but was very reluctant to send me either a voice note or appear on video. I eventually persuaded him to speak on the phone and guess what, his accent was much more West African than American. The sound of chickens in the background was also not quite right for the multi-millionaire he claimed to be.

The most important clue is the remarkable claims these scammers always make. I've recently seen people claiming that their scheme can increase an "investment" of $350 to $3,500 in just a week. That's an impossible 1,000% return in a week. There's no investment of any sort that can offer returns like that. Others talk about daily returns or 2-3% or more. That's per day, not per year.

Anyone who makes claims like these is a liar and can't be trusted. Please help us by spreading the word to everyone you know so they fall victim to these scams.

No comments: