Saturday, 16 July 2022

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Where's my car?

Hello Mr Harriman. I kindly need your advise and most importantly your help. I paid one guy to purchase a car for me from Durban in January. No document was made we just made verbal agreements because I had thought he would deliver it just like my first car. I paid 80k cash and I have at least the proof of payments. He had promised that I would have my car in 4 weeks but there's nothing up to today. He bought my first car and he delivered it well on time the problem is this second car. It's been 6 months and his phones are not going through nothing whatsoever.

Please Mr Harriman how can you help me. I can't even sleep when I think of my hard earned money please sir. I'd really appreciate it if you helped.

I wish I had some good news for you. Unfortunately, I don't. Not yet.

The bad news is that you made a mistake by not getting something in writing with this guy. A written agreement would be a very good starting place if you wanted to start legal action against him. A sale agreement doesn't need to be a complicated thing, it just needs to be a written agreement that says he's buying a car on your behalf, stating the relevant dates, conditions and the payments required. You don't need an attorney to write it for you. It can be very simple. All it then needs is your signatures and those of some witnesses.

However, all is not lost. I suspect that the proofs of payment are better than nothing. So would any SMS or WhatsApp conversations you might have had with him.

Back to the bad news. He's disappeared. None of the numbers you have for him are working and he doesn't appear to exist on Facebook. This is going to be a challenge. It might be worth contacting the Police to see if they know anything about him. Perhaps other people have complained about him as well?

Update: The company he was operating was deregistered in 2020. If he was using that company name to sell you a car in 2022 he's in deep trouble. We should both alert the authorities.

Is it real?

Good day. I have applied for an online loan at Norton Finance and Swoosh Finance in South Africa and was approved. Thereafter I was asked to pay legal fees for the insurance but to date they are not sending the loan as agreed on the contract. I was asked to pay transfer duty but still I can't get the loan. Cancellation too calls for money equivalent to what I have paid so far.

I sent the money through Mukuru. Their phones are still going through and are still asking me to pay the last fee for tax charged by Reserve Bank.

How can you assist me?

I'm sorry. Much as I'd like to be of help, I can't. You're the victim of a scam.

I think it's worth highlighting some of the clues about these fake lenders. Firstly, no legitimate lender lends money across borders. No South African lender will lend money to someone who lives in a different legal jurisdiction. Secondly, I bet they operate from a free email address and a cellphone number? I bet they've never called you from a landline or emailed you from a domain similar to the company names they claimed?

I also predict that they offered you loans at incredibly low interest rates, just a fraction of what your bank would have offered. I predict they also offered to lend you enormous amounts.

This is how all these fake lender scams work. They make loan offers to people who have been turned down by their bank or who can't afford the amounts charged by conventional lenders. They're appealing to the desperate.

Finally, and I'm sure you know this now, but real lenders don't demand money from the people they're lending to. Real lenders don't charge their customers money. They certainly don't charge you legal fees, insurance and cancellation fees. It's all lies.

The worst news is that there's nothing you can do to get your money back. Scammers don't offer refunds.

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