Saturday 27 April 2024

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Where's my deposit?

Kindly assist here. Last year, I made a deposit at a store so I could lay-bye a Sony Soundbar. When I went to settle the balance, I was told that the soundbar is out of stock, and that their policy was to NOT keep lay-byed items in the premises until they are cleared off. I asked them to refund the deposit I had made, but they insisted that they'll order one for me, and that it would arrive within the week. Mind you, last year's "Black Friday" special was still on, all over town. I went back to them 10 days later, and I was told the exact same thing, that "it's not in stock" This was around the 7th of December 2023.

I asked, yet again, to be refunded and they told me to submit my bank statements on some, "it's protocol" and I complied with their tedious 'protocol'. I was assured that I'd get my money "in a week or 2. I went back to them around the 19th, and then every week since then, and each time, I was told a different story. Promises were made to me each time, and not a single one was seen through. Long story short, my refund has been pending, and it has been 4 months now. I relocated, so I don't go to them as often but I call them every week, and I'm just told "We'll get back to you!" which they never do! With that, kindly assist me?

This is intolerable in so many different ways. Firstly, my understanding of a lay-bye is that the item is reserved for you until you've made the final payment. It might not be the exact item you saw in the store but somewhere there should be an identical item for you ready to pick up. It should be quite simple. But not in this case.

I think you were right to demand a refund and it shouldn't have been a complicated thing for them to process. Yes, there should have been some paperwork to complete, confirming that you really want to cancel the deal and for them to process whatever they need to do but I can't see how it would take more than a few days at the most. It's 2024, I'm sure they have the technology to do this. Even if they don't and they're still operating with pieces of paper and pencils, it shouldn't take more than four months to give you your money back. I'll contact them.

Update: They tell me your refund has already been processed. They'll call you.

Can I cancel the policy?

I need your help please. we were approached by an insurance broker and he was telling us about their life cover and investment policy so I got interested but he didn't mention that he is the broker for a particular insurance company which I realised later. I emailed him telling him to cancel the policy because I don't wany anything associated with them because they once did something not good to me. So he didn't reply and I called him and he told me it is not possible to cancel and I will cancel after a year. I told him I will approach the insurance company and he told me they are going to refer me back to him. I realised yesterday when i received my payslip that they have deducted without even enquiring from me. Please help me I want to cancel this policy please.

I think this will be easy to fix. The insurance company will understand that the policy was incorrectly opened and I'm certain they'll close it as soon as you speak to them.

The bigger issue is this broker. He simply can't be trusted. There is a common misunderstanding about the difference between an insurance broker and an insurance company. The most important difference is that the broker works for YOU, not the insurance company. It's the job of the broker to find the right policy for you, a policy that meets YOUR needs. Clearly this guy is working for his own interests and is making up stories when he says you can't cancel the policy. That's simply a lie. Insurance policies have a cooling off period that NBFIRA insist upon. I think we both need to alert NBFIRA that they have a rogue broker to deal with.

Update: The insurance policy has been cancelled.

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Where's my ring?

Hi Richard. Kindly help. In December I ordered a custom ring from a store and they said total cost is P11,900. I paid the required 50% deposit of P5,950 on 12th December 2023 and was informed of an 8 week waiting time which I was comfortable with as the wedding was on 05th April 2024. In March because of their prolonged silence I enquired about where my ring is and all they told me was that it is in shipping and they promised that it would be ready for collection on 22nd March 2024 which was not the case.

In all these its always too difficult to get any response from them. As we continued to probe, they decided to send us a temporary ring as the wedding date approached. I tried to show them the importance of having my actual ring on my wedding day and as usual it was always difficult to get any response or updates. They did say they're having a customs issue and that they had to submit invoice and other documents and I questioned why they had not done that all along to no response. I now decided I want a refund because I am convinced the ring does not exist and sent them both an email and whatsapp message and they only respond after countless follow-ups of asking them to treat this as urgent. Looks like they are not willing to?

This is completely unacceptable. It's also enormously insulting.

It's a constant surprise how badly some people operating in the various industries supporting weddings can behave. Almost every week we hear from people who've been badly let down when they've ordered wedding dresses, catering, cakes, transport, furniture and jewellery like you. I really don't understand how these shady suppliers can forget how important the date is. These are not events that can be postponed. They also often cost vast amounts of money.

I'm happy to contact the company and see if they would like the public to know how badly they treat customers on such important occasions.

Must I take defective chairs?

Good morning sir. I would like to raise a complaint against a furniture store in Mahalapye. I bought chairs for P33,000 from them on laybye and finished paying in August 2023. Upon settling the balance, the manager insisted we got chairs from the display since he felt lazy to travel to the Palapye warehouse to collect our chairs, which we turned down because we felt like the ones on display were used hence we wanted brand new ones. He then agreed to give us new ones. After delivering the chairs we found defects. I got hold of the sales lady who promised to report the issue to the manager so that they replace. So when the time to replace came, the manager took us back to the display chairs issue which we rejected.

Ever since then the manager keep on saying I'm coming to change the chairs but he never delivers. Even the same broken chairs, none of the staff came to see what we are talking about. Now we have broken chairs in our living room and we scared that they want to tell us that the chairs have been with us since they never came to recollect them. Unfortunately the info we get is that there is no head office and every shop handles its issues which means we go back to the same people who are giving us attitude whenever we are there. We are frustrated because of this issue to the extent of trying to get hold of the regional manager, the same people gave us the wrong number. Please assist us sir.

Again, this is completely unacceptable. Whether it was a purchase by cash, hire purchase or laybye, you deserve new chairs. Not second-hand, used, repaired, defective chairs or former display models. You deserve what you paid for. New chairs.

I also think it was very unwise of the staff to tell you that they have no Head Office. Because they do. And I know the General Manager. Very silly of them. I'll contact the GM to tell them how badly their staff behave.

UPDATE: The chairs were delivered before I got a chance to contact Head Office. But they still need to know.

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Can I get my money back?

Hello Mr Richard. May you please assist me. This situation is about forex trading. There was a certain person who trades for people and he did trade for me. We entered into an agreement that my funds will be given to me after 22 days. This was last year around June. He did make the trade as per the agreement. I put in $100 and up to now he is giving me the round around to give me my money. A service was done but playing around now to give me my money. He said he made $287 plus he was going to add a bit more for the delay he caused me. He has registered his trading as a company with CIPA. I have the contract we signed and all the conversations. He keeps saying he will send my money but up to now it's just stories. He kept giving reasons like BURS was auditing the company but still giving me the run around. Now that this is a registered business I believe he needs to stop playing these games and pay me. Please help?

The starting point here is that this guy can't be trusted. I suspect he's been lying to you since Day 1.

What many of these so-called forex trader gurus do is simply to pretend to be trading for us. They create impressive looking statements and web pages that appear to show massive profits but in fact they just take victim's money and kept it for themselves. Everything you see is fake, all constructed to encourage you to "invest" more and more money with them. They're like muggers that persuade their victims to be mugged over and over again.

Unfortunately, it's unlikely that you'll get your money back. The only chance will be if you contact the Police and lay a charge against him. The good news is that the Police are becoming much capable and willing to take on crimes like this.

Have we waited long enough?

Hello Mr Richard. I'm asking if I may get help from somewhere. My issue is that my mum insured her mum at her bank and their waiting period is 5 months. Mum opened the policy on the 13th February 2023 and they started to debit the money on the 26th March. Her mother passed away on the 27th July and they refused to do a claim saying she not qualifying.

Is it possible?

Unfortunately it is.

Firstly, I'm very sorry for your loss. Whenever you take out an insurance policy it's critically important that you read and completely understand the terms and conditions. Anyone who has seen an insurance policy will know that the T&Cs can be very long, very complicated and difficult to understand. However, it's the job of the insurance company or the broker or agent that sold it, to explain the things that really matter. One of the most important thing that matters is the waiting period that most policies have. Whether it's a life insurance policy, a vehicle policy, a funeral plan or a medical aid, it's incredibly important to completely understand the waiting period before you can claim.

I contacted the bank and they told me that the "policy commencement period is valid 30 days after the 1st payment and in this case the first payment was deducted on 26th March therefore the 1st month of the policy is effective from the 26th April counting 5 months therefore by July the Policy waiting period had not lapsed".

Unfortunately, according to the small print in the policy, your grandmother passed away only 4 months after the commencement date so they don't need to pay anything. I'm sorry I don't have better news.