Saturday 10 December 2022

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Will they fix my couch?

I bought a couch on instalment and before the end of 1 month the couch got broken and there were nails piercing as you sit on one of them. I reported through phone call and was told to go to the shop but I could not manage however I reported to the shop where I paid my first instalment.

They took them for fixing, but I went to the shop and told them that I no longer want to keep them as they are of poor quality and are unsafe. The store insist that I take them back. I stopped paying for them.

I was thinking of calling them to collect the rest of the chairs. They have collected the couch it's been more than a month.

I know this sounds unfair but you must immediately start paying your instalments again.

The reason is simple. The hire purchase agreement you signed says that if you're in arrears the store isn't required to honour the warranty and repair the faulty couch. They can just stop work and keep it. They can also repossess the chairs you still have. Why? What's often forgotten with hire purchase is that the goods don't belong to you, they still belong to the store. That's why it's called 'hire' purchase. The goods only become your property when you've paid the final instalments.

The biggest danger you face is that the store can repossess everything, including the chairs but that won't be the end of the matter. You'll still owe them the total hire purchase cost, minus the instalments you've already paid but you'll also owe them interest, penalty charges, debt collection fees and legal fees. You can end up owing them even more than you do now.

My advice is to pay the missing instalments as soon as possible and then tell them that they've failed to offer you "goods which are of good quality, in good working order and free of defects" as required by Section 15 (1) of the Consumer Protection Regulations. Let's see if that encourages them to give you what they promised?

A warning for Facebook users

Several readers have contacted us recently asking for advice about the scams they've seen on Facebook.

The main problem with the scams we see on Facebook is that the profiles running these scams often look like real people, perhaps even people we know. That's because they ARE the profiles of people we know. They could be family members, friends, workmates or strangers but these are their real profiles which have been taken over by scammers.

So how do they take over people's Facebook profiles? The truth is actually a lot simpler than people think. The accounts aren't "hacked", the hackers don't have amazing technological skills, it's much simpler. They get the login details and passwords simply by asking for them. And the victims hand them over without any protest.

What makes them do this? It's simple. Money.

I'll give you an example. A few days ago, a real Facebook profile tried to post this message in the Consumer Watchdog Facebook group:
"I will help 20 people with P700 who can complete the word that start with M and end with D."
I've seen before so knew what was happening but I contacted the poster asking if was true. They told me
"before we proceed on the giveaway to tell you that we are doing this giveaway for the people that are serious and really in the need of money hope you understand?"
They then asked for my name and basic details, including my email address and cell number and then said:
"you will receive a confirmation code now, send it to me immediately so we can verify your account for the giveaway".
That confirmation code is the code Facebook sends to someone when they've forgotten their password. While I'd been talking to them they'd tried to sign on to my Facebook profile and clicked on the button you use when you've forgotten the password. If they got that code they could have changed my Facebook password, take over my account, and then use it to run their scams.

Please don't fall for this. Do you really want to give away your Facebook identity to a scammer that all your friends and relatives will think is you?

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