Saturday 27 January 2024

The Voice - Consumer Voice

Where's my compensation?

Hello Richard. I kindly need your assistance. It is about my workers compensation claim that has been going on for long. The insurance Company is not committed to paying the money though I have done everything they requested. They are really failing me. I gave them the claim form last year November and they replied this year that they need me to do a second medical opinion of which I did. They keep going back and forth. 2 weeks back they wanted another medical opinion and I did and gave them the quotation. Right now they are not responding or taking my calls, a whole big Insurance company for that matter. I've spent a lot of money on transport due to this matter but no progress.

The accident was in 2020 and I haven't found help ever since then I tried everything. I tried to enquire to them once and they told me that they can sue me for placing a query at Consumer Watchdog.

This is ridiculous. You had an accident more than 3 years ago and your compensation claim still hasn't been processed? That's not acceptable. Section 14 of the Consumer Protection Act says that "where a supplier undertakes to perform any services for or on behalf of a consumer, the consumer has a right to … timely performance and completion of those services (and) timely notice of any unavoidable delay". Clearly this insurance company, or perhaps the insurance broker used by your employer, don't understand what "timely performance" means, or they don't care. Or they just want to delay you until you give up.

I contacted the insurance company about your issue so let's see what they say.

And their suggestion that if you consult Consumer Watchdog they'll sue you? Here's my message to them. Don't sue your customer. Sue me. Go on, I dare you.

Is it too late to get my money back?

I reported a fraud case on the 12th of December 2023. We were scammed by fraudsters pretending to be from BURS and they gave us a purchase order and we then procured from the "Supplier" via EFT to their bank in SA at an amount of ZAR61,835 on 8th December. After 3 days we discovered this Supplier works with the fraudsters in South Africa. As soon as we found out it was a scam two working days after the transfer we went to our bank with a Police Report and asked them to freeze the funds before they reflected on the scammers account. They followed their normal protocol and said in 30 days they will give us a response.

I have been following up with them and they keep saying the other bank in SA says they will give them feedback and they don't even know if the funds were frozen or not. Their 30 days elapses on the 12th of Jan and they can't even tell me if the funds were frozen or not!

I'm had a meeting with the fraud department head, they said the issue was assigned to an investigator with the bank in SA and they are still awaiting their response since its 2 different banks in 2 different countries.

This is going to be complicated. I think you should also prepare yourself for disappointment.

We've seen many of these supplier scams in the last few years. It usually starts with an email from what appears to be a major state-owned enterprise like BURS inviting you to supply them with expensive products. However, the strange thing is that the invitation tells the victim which company can supply these goods. The victim then contacts this fake company and is offered a cheap deal on these products. They then transfer the money to them. That's all there is to it. The victim's money is gone, never to be seen again.

In your case you were very wise to inform your bank as soon as possible but the way these scammers work is they transfer any money they get from victims overseas as soon as possible. In the 4 days between your transfer and you alerting the bank, it's possible the money disappeared.

Let's hope you were in time.

Saturday 13 January 2024

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

This phone isn't new!

On the 29th December I purchased a phone, got home and the phone was not charging and it has photos inside that I found in it and it overheats when you switch it on and that's after hardly 24 hours of purchase. The next day on the 30th I returned to the store to lodge a complaint and was told that no exchange or refund will be made. Instead they just swapped chargers and gave me a Huawei charger while the phone is a Vivo brand. Since they had already taken my money the guys didn't even want to listen to my complaint, but if you purchase a mere pie from grocery store and it's not fresh you are given a refund.

I asked them to at least change to the other one and they refused saying I should have brought a better phone instead of crying for cheap one.

I wish you a very Happy New Year and I wish this cellphone store a very Unhappy New Year. I wish most businesses, the ones that work hard to serve their customer well, the very best of luck and I hope they prosper. But occasionally I hear about companies that I hope fail. Maybe this is one of them?

It's not too much to ask to expect a product that works. The law says the same thing. Section 15 (1) of the Consumer Protection Act says that a consumer "has the right to receive goods which are of good quality, in good working order and free of defects". Simple. But too difficult for this store to understand.

Section 13 of the Act says that a store that sells second-hand goods (like a phone containing the previous owner's photos) "shall inform a consumer that the goods sold are used goods by … placing a label on the goods that indicates that such goods are used goods" and "placing a notice on the invoice issued to a consumer". Again, simple. Again, too difficult for this store.

Section 16 says that if goods are faulty within 6 months of purchase the consumer can return them for a repair, replacement or refund. The store can choose which they offer but they can't just decide to ignore their offences.

I contacted the store and they haven't yet replied to my messages. I'll let you know if they do but meanwhile you can all join in the conversation about this in the Consumer Watchdog Facebook group.

The repair didn't work!

My daughter had a problem with her iPhone on 22 December 2023 and she took it to be repaired. She was charged P800 for fixing which she paid and later given the phone same day on the pretext that the phone is ok. The next day the phone gave her the same problem. She went back to the store and the repairer refused to assist. He refused and was too arrogant. She took it to another repairer who told her that the screen which was installed is not an iPhone screen and promised to order a new screen for the iPhone.

So the first guy remained with P800 just like that. He should refund us so that we pay for the repairer who promised to order a new screen. Please help.

Another company that deserves to fail. I understand, like I'm sure you and your daughter understand, mistakes happen and repairs aren't always as easy as we might think. However, if what you've been told is correct, the first repairer is either incompetent or a liar. Or both. I don't think it's unreasonable to have an iPhone screen replaced with an iPhone screen, is it?

The good news is that the Consumer Protection Act also includes the quality of repair work. Section 17 says that a company that repairs something must offer "a warranty on every new or re-conditioned part installed during any repair or maintenance work, and the labour required to install it, for a period of three months". One day isn't enough.

I tried contacting the first repair guy but he's not answering calls or replying to messages. Maybe a call from the Competition and Consumer Authority would encourage him more?