Saturday, 11 September 2021

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Where's my sister's money?

Hello Richard. Please assist me here on behalf of my older sister. This what happened. My sister visited a certain garage at Francistown as she wanted a car. So she was told to pay clearance money of 35k and she did that. Upon the arrival of the car she noticed mechanical faults with the car and she did not take it. As a result she demanded her 35k back. And the garage owner said he will repay her after he sold his faulty car.

My sister ended up purchasing a car from a different garage while waiting for her refund from the first garage. The faulty car was sold but up to now the garage owner is playing hide and seek on refunding my sister. He will say he will pay tomorrow. Next week. Next month. Please help!! What can she do? Its almost 8 months now.

It's people like this guy that give car dealers a bad name.

I know for a fact that there are plenty of second-hand and imported car dealers who are honest, hard-working and committed to serving their customers to the best of their ability. Just not this one.

I've heard too often about people like this guy who insist on trying to sell a faulty item before they can refund someone who gave them a lot of money. It's not acceptable. Was it your sister's fault that the vehicle was faulty? No, it was his and he should face up to his responsibilities to your sister. He took her money, tried to give her a faulty vehicle and then kept her money. Not only is that a gross breach of her consumer rights I suspect it's almost theft.

The time has come for your sister to be much more assertive. She needs to make some demands and give him a deadline. I suggest she contacts him and says that unless he refunds in full within seven days she'll take legal action against him to recover the money he owes her. If he fails to do so, it's time to get even more assertive and get a lawyer involved. He has a choice. Pay up or pay her lawyer's bills on top of the P35,000 he already owes her.

Shouldn't they clear my name?

Can you please help. I have a credit card. In April this year the bank phoned to say that I owe them P1,200 for the card because they were not able to deduct as we have agreed from my account because their system was down. I paid the money in June. Recently I went to the same bank to apply for a loan in the same bank and they declined the application saying that they have blacklisted me even though it proves that I don't owe them after checking.

Are they not supposed to clear my name?

The first problem is that banks aren't perfect. They make mistakes. Their systems sometimes let them (and us) down. Clearly that happened when they failed to deduct your monthly credit card payments. Surely their expensive computer system has the ability to tell both them and you that there's been a problem and then to send a reminder that a payment failed and someone needs to take an action to keep your payments up to date?

However, it was also your responsibility to ensure the payments were made. I know it's easy to overlook this because we trust our banks to get things right. But they often don't so it's up to us to check.

Secondly, the way credit reference bureaus work is that they record facts. The bank will have updated the system to say that you fell behind with your payments and then later updated it again to say that you'd caught up. However, and this is the important point, those updates stay on your record for up to two years. That enables the bank and other potential lenders to see your recent history and make a judgment on whether they think lending money to you is a good or bad risk.

Given that it's the same bank that made the mistake that has since declined your loan application I think it's worth reminding them who actually caused the problem in the first place. Maybe they should take some share of the responsibility for the situation?

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