Saturday 19 March 2022

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Do I get a refund?

Good day Richard, please help me. I opened a funeral policy with my bank in 2014 and they were always deducting from my account till last year (2021). In August they closed my policy because I was hit by Covid, (meaning no money) they just send me an SMS for the closing of the account, saying that they will call me, which they didn't do. Later I called them asking for refund and they refused.

Please help me thank you.

Unfortunately this isn't how funeral policies normally work.

Funeral plans, like all insurance policies, offer you protection against the effects of some bad event happening. You can get insurance against loss of property, fire damage to your house and contents, theft, car accidents, becoming ill or the ultimate disaster, the death of you or one of your loved ones.

In all cases, the principle is the same. You pay a monthly premium to the insurance company and if the dreaded event happens, the insurance company pays the bills.

A common confusion is about what happens if the terrible event the consumer has bought insurance against doesn't happen. What happens if your house doesn't burn down, your car isn't stolen, you don't become ill or you don't die. Don't you get the money back?

No, that doesn't normally happen. That's because the insurance policy wasn't a savings scheme where money accumulates, you were paying to be protected. Think of it like employing a security guard to protect your house. If you don't have a break-in, will the security company refund you? No, you bought protection against something and were lucky that that bad thing didn't happen. It's exactly the same with insurance.

The complication is that there are now some insurance policies, particularly life insurance policies that offer a 'cash back' facility where, if you didn't claim, after a number of years you get some or all of your instalments back. However, these policies are still fairly uncommon, and I've never heard of cash back being offered with a funeral plan.

A warning (again, following several requests)

I've been approached by several people on WhatsApp who suggested I can make large amounts of money from Yellow Card. I was also approached by a few on Facebook saying the same thing and I've turned down even more posts from people who wanted to post the same adverts in the Consumer Watchdog Facebook group.

They all had three things in common. They all mentioned Yellow Card, they all promised that I could multiply my "investment" many times over in just a few days and they all included screenshots of payment notifications from FNB. However, all three of these claims were false. 

Firstly, it's nothing to do with Yellow Card, which is an exchange where you can buy and sell cryptocurrencies. 

Secondly, there is no investment in the world that can multiply your money seven times in 3 days, as one of these people claimed. Thirdly, the FNB alerts were faked. One of them couldn't even get the letters F, N and B in the right order. 

In my conversations with these scammers they all eventually confessed that they were associated with a range of web sites that made these offers and all of these sites were registered in just the last few months. They were also all reluctant to say where in fact they were based, most claiming they were in South Africa but often giving contact numbers in the USA. It was also interesting to see that the web sites were all almost identical. This is clearly an organised scam. Hilariously, one of these fake companies, Hot Trade FX, offered a Certificate of Incorporation from the USA that couldn't even spell the word "America" correctly.

Please I beg you, don't fall for scams like this. You'll never make a profit and I guarantee you'll lose any money you "invest". If you're ever in any doubt if something is a scam, you can always contact Consumer Watchdog for advice. And remember that anyone who invites you to join their money-making scheme wants to make money FROM you, not WITH you.

No comments: