Saturday 3 July 2021

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

They took my money!

I request your help, I had acquired a loan with my bank. I was dismissed from work. I contacted the bank and informed them that I was no longer working. I further on made a paying arrangement since I'm home and not working. The account I was using ended up being dormant and it was closed. I happen to have a savings account with them. Now 2 days ago my sister transferred her business money in order to pay for her items online. The bank has now accessed the account and paid the loan. I ask for your help for the bank to pay back the money since I had an agreement with them.

Kindly advise.

I think you have a problem. Perhaps several problems.

Firstly, you did the right thing by talking to your bank when you lost your job. Lots of people just go quiet when they can't pay their bills but you did what everyone should do. They should talk and do their best to agree a repayment plan they can afford.

Things went wrong when you allowed someone else, not the account holder, not you, to use the account. The bank was entitled to believe that all the money in your account belongs to you. They were also probably entitled to transfer money between your accounts if there was a debt in one and a credit in another. If you check the agreement you signed when you applied for the loan you'll certainly find a clause which says they can do this if necessary. It also probably says that they can do this without asking you first and certainly if you are in arrears with your repayments.

I think it's still worth speaking to the bank to see if they'll reconsider the situation and refund you but I'm not optimistic.

And then there's your sister…

Where's my refund?

Sometime last year there was a professional modelling workshop advertised to teach young interested models. The price was P950 per child and was scheduled to be on 5-6 December but due to Covid protocols it was postponed to the beginning of 2021.

The workshop management are very unprofessional, communication is made when it is them, when I inquire about progress am told to await an official statement.

Now I have informed them that any date after 31 March will not be suitable. I have on numerous occasions informed them of that and requested that I be refunded the money and they refuse to refund stating that they will only refund when they cancel the workshop, it is over 5 months now with no progress and concrete explanation on way forward or the refund I have requested.

I therefore request your intervention in this matter because my kids can no longer attend the workshop, and I do not believe that any plans have been made.

I'm sorry to hear about this.

I think you should email the organisers and tell them that Section 14 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Act says that when a supplier:
"undertakes to perform any services for or on behalf of a consumer, the consumer has a right to … timely performance and completion of those services (and) timely notice of any unavoidable delay".
Section 14 (2) goes on to say that when a supplier:
"fails to perform a service to the standards" they must "remedy any defect in the quality of the services (or) refund the consumer a reasonable portion of the price paid for the services performed and goods supplied, having regard to the extent of the failure".
I would then tell them that if they don't refund you within maybe 7 days you'll seek a court order against them for the refund. If they don't refund you you should go to the Small Claims Court for that order against them.

I hope this helps.

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