Good afternoon Mr Richard. I need help and clarity on this please.
I took a laptop from a store in 2014, then in 2015 I struggled to pay the instalments a few times. I owed less than P2,000. I then got attacked and robbed and the laptop was stolen. I took the police report to the store and they told me they can't give me another one because I failed to pay a few times and that was it. After they got the police report they went quiet from 2015 until this year they decide to call through their debt collection agency and they told me I owe close to P5,000 and even worse they wanted the money the same day. I tried to call the store to ask them and they redirected me to the regional manager who I have been leaving countless messages to and he's never gotten back to me. Up until today and all the people I've talking to in the store are surprised. I'm just lost. How can I have accumulated so much interest without my knowledge?
The only restriction on how big a debt can become is the "in duplum" rule which says that when a debt is settled the interest cannot be greater that the capital amount that is owed. So if you owed P2,000, the interest can't be more than P2,000. However, the store and the debt collector can also add legal and debt collection charges on top of that. So it could easily be P5,000.
The other bit of bad news is that because you were in arrears at the time the laptop was stolen the insurance policy that is normally included in a hire purchase agreement won't cover you. That's normal practice with hire purchase deals. If you're in arrears you don't get any of the benefits of the agreement like insurance and even the warranty.
I think the best thing to do is to speak to the debt collectors and see if you can negotiate a repayment plan you can afford.
Unfortunately, debt is immortal, it never dies.
He used second-hand stuff!
Hello Mr. Richard, I need your advice. I hired someone to do house wiring. He is the one who was buying everything that I needed to wire the house. I gave him money to do so. Then BPC came to inspect and it passed. Two days later when I connected fridge, stove etc, I realized there was no power coming through the sockets. I notified the guy and he told me it was none of his business. I went to BPC who came to check. It came out the guy has used second hand stuff which is now not working. He did not buy new things but instead got used material. I have been talking to him and he is uncooperative since December. He refuses to come and fix the problem or give me my money back. I paid all that he charged for labour. Which route would you advise me to take, that is most efficient?
I think this so-called electrician needs some education on the Consumer Protection Act. Section 5 of the Act says that a supplier
"shall not, in relation to the marketing of goods or services, by way of words or conduct falsely represent … that goods are new".Section 14 of the Act says that when
"a supplier undertakes to perform any services for or on behalf of a consumer, the consumer has a right to … performance of the services in a manner and quality that consumers are reasonably entitled to expect".
The same section also says that consumers have a right to
"the use, delivery or installation of goods that are free of defects and are of a quality that consumers are reasonably entitled to expect".Clearly this guy doesn't understand any of this. It's also important to note that unlike other professions, like plumbers, carpenters and tilers, where if they get things wrong it will only affect your bank balance, if an incompetent or shady electrician gets things wrong people can die. This guy needs to understand this.
He also needs to do what the law demands. He must
"remedy any defect in the quality of the services"
or refund you
"a reasonable portion of the price paid for the services performed and goods supplied, having regard to the extent of the failure".
Nothing else will be enough.