Saturday 10 July 2021

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Where's my money?

I sold this man my car and he still owes me a balance of P13,000. What he does is take your car and sell it at a certain price and he gives you the money you wanted. He was supposed to pay me P15,000 but he has only given me P2,000. We had a verbal agreement. I went to the magistrate and he ordered him to pay me before 31st May. i served him with court orders and still the sheriff can't get hold of him.

So is there something you can advise me to do?

I think the first problem you face is the lack of written agreement. The rule really should be that any time you buy or sell something valuable, there must be an agreement in writing. It's particularly important when you're hiring someone to perform a service for you, like buying a car. Without an agreement it can be very difficult to prove what was agreed between the two of you.

Luckily, you seem to have found a magistrate who can overlook this and has given you an order to get your money. The challenge now is to make that order more than just a piece of paper.

I contacted the man and he wasn't very helpful. He asked me "Wat was the agreement between me and that guy" and told me to "Get the facts before u start publishing things u don't know Mr". Unfortunately, he hasn't said anything further and has chosen not to tell me what he thinks "the facts" might be.

I suggest you go back to the magistrate and get their advice. It might be time to make this a criminal matter and involve the Police. They might be able to persuade him to cooperate.

Can they do this?

I need your advise with a query that I lodged with a microlender. The query was on direct debits that they sent to my account on dates that we had not agreed on thus creating unpaid transactions in my account.

I work in a financial institution so account misconduct is a serious offense which is why I then sourced some funds to close the account. After closure I then lodged a query on around 6 transactions that they sent to my account on different dates and they only refunded one transaction, but on a complaint letter I sent I also requested an apology letter to assist with my employer case.

The explanation I got for the one refund was that the other direct debits were sent on those dates because my account was in arrears, but my question was if they had the right to do so and if creating unpaid transactions and charges of P325 each on my account was punishment for arrears. I requested for the part that stipulates that in our signed contract and the apology letter but I am getting no responses.

Kindly advise.

I'm sorry to hear about your problem. I haven't seen the contract you signed with the microlender but I suspect it says that if a customer is in arrears then they can take any catch-up payments whenever they feel like it.

Unfortunately, companies like this make money not only from the extraordinary interest rates and other charges they charge but also from the penalties they charge when anything goes wrong. The lender you chose is a particularly expensive one. For instance, if you borrow P10,000 from them over a year you'll repay a total of P19,116. If you borrow just P2,000 over a year the total repayment will be an extraordinary P5,028. And that's before anything goes wrong.

I'm also concerned about your position with your employer. Many banks and companies in the financial services industries insist that their employees don't get into high levels of debt. They do this to minimise the chances that their employees can be bribed or influenced to break the rules. The decision you need to consider is whether honesty is the best policy.

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