Saturday 14 October 2023

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

How do we deal with these fraudsters?

I need to know how to deal with fraudsters who claim to trade forex for you and vanish into thin air with your money. And you can still see their number being in use...even still advertising. How do you deal with them and to stop them from victimising others?

I don't want to sound like a preacher but the bad news is that sin will always be with us. Some of our neighbours are less moral that you and me and will do their best to take our money. Thieves and con-artists have always existed and always will. The only weapons we have to fight against them are knowledge and the law.

Let's start with knowledge. These forex scammers rely on our ignorance of how forex works. They suggest that by trading foreign currencies online the average person like you and I can make fabulous profits. What they fail to mention is that the only people who make consistent profits from forex trading are huge multinational companies like banks and investment companies who have vast amounts of money to trade with, enormously skilled forex specialists and supercomputers that do all the work for them. Can you and I compete against that?

More commonly these days the scammers will claim that they're offering the ability to trade in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but that's just another way they try to exploit our lack of knowledge. Like forex, very few of us understand how cryptocurrencies work and it's silly for us to think we can profit from them.

Finally there are the self-styled "gurus" who claim to offer advice to others on how to trade. But ask yourself this question. If they are so skilled at making money from these tools, why don't they just do it themselves? Why are they sharing these "opportunities" with us? It's simple. Because they don't actually make money from trading, they make money from us. We are the product that makes them money. Remember that anyone who invites you to join their money-making scheme wants to make money FROM you, not WITH you.

And the law? The Consumer Protection Act can protect us but NBFIRA can also take an interest if someone is offering financial or investment advice. Even Bank of Botswana can intervene if they see an "illegal deposit-taking scheme". What we need is for them to take action when they see wrongdoing. We need to see some of these crooks in handcuffs and then in prison.

Can't they check their records for me?

I need help I made a lay bye in mid-June this year at a store in Selebi Phikwe and I failed to pay my remaining balance. Honestly I forgot about the lay bye. I just found out from my journal book that I have a lay bye with them. Today I went to the store to be told the only way I got use my money it's only when I produce a receipt which I might have misplaced. I requested them check on their records but the sales assistant refused.

No. This is not good enough. Ok, I accept that you forgot to make a payment. But we're all human, we make innocent mistakes sometimes. You're not a criminal for making a mistake. Secondly you might have lost your receipt. Again, that's a mistake but again, hardly a crime. Remember also that many receipts fade after a few months so you might only have a blank piece of paper by now. The trick is to take a photo of all important receipts and then send them to a friend or relative as a backup.

However, I agree with you. Can't they check their records to get all the necessary details? Surely it's not that complicated? Maybe we should contact them and introduce them to a new idea they seem not to have heard of before? It's called 'customer service'. It involves going out of your way to help a customer when they need it. It involves not being difficult and lazy. It involves being a good person who helps their neighbours, their customers when they need it.

I contacted the Country Manager for this chain of stores and he asked for more details. He's a reasonable guy and I'm sure he'll understand that you are a customer who deserves some courtesy and assistance. If the store staff still don't understand I'm sure readers of The Voice would volunteer to explain it to them. Do they really want that?

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