Saturday, 8 October 2022

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Must I pay this much?

I'm writing to make enquires about the running of unregistered motshelo scheme. I am one of the members
We're charged 10% interest when borrowing money.

I borrowed P4,300 back in July 2021 and then my employer closed his company during Covid-19 lockdown. I didn't manage to pay back anything until when I got another job in May 2022. On the 22nd July 2022 I said I was ready to settle my debt. They said the money had accumulated, and that in January this year it was P8,000. I paid P9,040 because I wanted to increase my contribution so that by December I should get a better an amount PLUS my interest.

To my surprise they're saying I still owe a balance of P7,000+. According to my calculations I have paid more than I was supposed to, I have sought for advice and I need a second opinion from you Sir.

I deeply regret the choices I made I just thought we were ladies from the same village. Now I need answers as to why exactly are they demanding some more money when I already paid. NBFIRA told me that's an illegal scheme and my interest shouldn't exceed the money borrowed. Could you please advise?

I'm not going to disagree with NBFIRA because they're right. Clearly this is an illegal motshelo scheme. I'm betting they're not registered with NBFIRA and they're also breaking the "in duplum" rule which says that when a debt is settled, the amount of interest cannot exceed the capital amount that you still owe. You borrowed just P4,300, you've paid back P9,040 and they still want another P7,000? That's a total of P16,040, nearly four times the amount you borrowed. That's crazy. At least some of the money you've paid should have reduced the loan amount and not just paid the outrageous interest this scheme is charging.

I suggest you speak to whoever is administering this scheme and pass on the advice from NBFIRA and insist that they do the maths again and this time come up with a better result. Either that or you submit a formal complaint to NBFIRA.

What can I do?

Kindly advise if this is worth suing or taking up with the legal team. I bought phone at a dealership in May. 2 weeks ago it showed that it couldn't read the sim slot 2 and I took it back to them. They told me that they would be sending it to Gaborone and it should be back in 2 weeks. 2 days before the 2 weeks I go there just to check if its back yet and they didn't have feedback for me and called the place to enquire but were told that the person fixing my phone is out of office.

On Thursday when I called to enquire I was told the phone has arrived. The sim slot has been fixed but they have also flashed my phone. When asked why they say the phone also had a software problem that needed to be updated hence they flushed it without my consent or at least backing up my information.

Richard the information that they erased is worth more than millions in value literally. Some is evidence that I am to use at court. A spreadsheet with loans. Screenshots of my loan agreements. Loans worth over 100k and convos between myself and the people who owe me. Conversations and proformas as well as proof of payments for stuff that I have ordered in China.

Kindly assist.

I'm sorry but I don't think I can offer you any assistance. Firstly, it was very unwise to hand over a phone that contained such important information without first taking a backup. Yes, the repairer should probably have asked you before wiping the phone but you should have been much more cautious. From what you told me, your business and much of your personal life depended on that information. You should have been backing this up on a daily basis. There are plenty of free backup services available these days. There no reason not to be using them.

Secondly, from what you said, and our later conversation, you were using that phone to operate a microlending business that hadn't been registered with NBFIRA. The bad news is that if you had been registered with NBFIRA they would likely have banned you because you failed to keep reliable records but as you weren't registered you face a different set of NBFIRA's rules. Perhaps worst of all for you, you probably no longer have any way to enforce any of the loans you made. Bu as you were making them illegally, can you really complain?

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