Saturday, 19 May 2018

Radio show notes - week beginning 14th May 2018

Source: Wikipedia
1. Events – can we ever do them right?

Exhibit A. Hamptons Festival

The original event was postponed, and tickets were offered to the rescheduled event. However, some people either couldn’t make the rescheduled date or just chose not to.

But for some of those people, refunds were very slow to arrive.

Exhibit B. Gaborone Motor Show.

Following the sale of many tickets, some of which included entry to a raffle, the Motor Show organisers posted the following message:
“NOTICE: Our raffle has been cancelled! All persons who bought our P100 Raffle Tickets should claim their refund at our entrance points at the 2018 Gaborone Motor Show… We would like to sincerely apologize to all affected customers for this cancellation we were unable to get registration in time!”
However, several people were disappointed. One commented:
“The prize car for the raffle was not a brand new vehicle; the raffle itself was cancelled; and some issues arose with the young ladies tasked with working at the event. As per the post, I tried to claim my full refund at the entrance of the event and they told me the rules had changed and that they no longer give full refunds. Even after showing them this very post, they refused to give a full refund and stated that those will only be possible after an audit was carried out.”
The law is simple. All competitions, including raffles, must be approved by the Gambling Authority and that takes a while, it's not something that can be done quickly. The Motor Show organisers had plenty of time.

The lesson is to read the small print on tickets. Always ask about cancellation terms before you buy the ticket.

2. Jamalife – is it legit?

Jamalife describe themselves as:
“an online cum offline network marketing organization and was born out of the need to build up people financially all across the globe to the point of experiencing high quality life in all areas of living”. 
That's meaningless gibberish. Describing their products they say they have offer “Human Capital Development”, “Food Security”, “Online mail”, “Flight and hotel booking”, “Assets and Property acquisition” and “Financial empowerment”.

More meaningless gibberish.

What Jamalife really offers is multiple layers of recruitment. They call them Builder, Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Diamond, Crown Diamond, Ambassador and finally Crown Ambassador. Each of these layers include at least another two layers. Jamalife claim that once you reach the top of Crown Ambassador level, they promise that you can get R3,900,000 and a Range Rover worth R2,210,000.

But here's a question. To get to that level, how many people would you need in the pyramid beneath you?
16,777,214.

The difference between a Multi-Level Marketing scheme and a pyramid scheme is simple. A pyramid scheme is focussed primarily on the recruitment of people rather than the sale of products. Jamalife say this:
"any rewards or earnings that are offered from Jamalife Helpers Global through the Business Plan is the result of members referring or signing up other willing members."
Their own words...

3. Where’s my policy?

A customer started an education policy in 2015, paying P300/month. This was meant to mature this year but:
“I was told I have closed the account in 2015 and it stopped deducting. Now they say I have to pay all the instalments in order for me to resuscitate the policy yet they don’t have any proof that I instructed them to stop the policy. They closed it because they say i wrote a letter instructing them to close it but they can't provide the stated letter.”
The important thing is that it is a customer’s job to monitor the payments, not their employer or their bank. It's the Custoemr's job to check bank statements and payslips to check they are making the payments they must.

In this case, the solutions is to pay the missing instalments. She still has the money after all.

4. World Ventures (yet again)

“Is it legit?” The Norwegian authorities say not. They found that 95% of all money earned is from recruiting other people. It's another pyramid scheme.

World Ventures base their pyramid on supposed travel discounts but discounts aren’t products. And anyway, there's no need to pay to join a discount when hotels give them away for free. You can get discounted hotel stays in South Africa but visiting booking.com, bid2stay.co.za where they give away discounts for free. Or consider something like Airbnb.

Regarding World Ventures, the latest income figures they published for the USA showed that two thirds (actually 68.7%) of all the income went to the 3.7% at the top. The median annual income was a mere $33 (around P330). And that was income, not profit.

5. How to complain (in 2018)

A customer had a problem with a takeaway.
“I was contacted by one of their managers for the poor service I had received. When I got their I ordered the same food and asked to see the manager. The lady took her time and I went to buy a drink, I came back she still took her time and when she came she did apologies for the mistake they did but she was not interested in helping me and started interrogating asking silly questions about why I had to run to social media and wat not. I received no help concerning the poor service I had received. These people have no respect for us as consumers. Now I think it's time I took my case to consumer affairs.”
It’s 2018. How should we complain?

However the hell we want to!

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Where’s my policy?

I been having an education policy with an insurance company for the past 3 years and they were deducting P300 directly from my salary. The policy was supposed to mature this year. So when I called enquiring about it I was told I have closed the account in 2015 and it stopped deducting. Now they say I have to pay all the instalments in order for me to resuscitate the policy yet they don’t have any proof that I instructed them to stop the policy. They closed it because they say i wrote a letter instructing them to close it but they can't provide the stated letter. Surprisingly they have all my documents except that one.

I didn't notice that the deductions stopped because they were deducting from the salary and I didn't pay attention to the salary advice. They even did not consult me to come and claim my termination benefits now they say the policy used that money up as a default penalty.


I think you probably know what I’m going to say.

When you agree to a savings scheme like this, or an insurance policy or even a bank loan, the responsibility for paying the instalments rests entirely with you, the customer. If something goes wrong and your employer’s payroll system stops deducting from your salary or the bank stops making your monthly payments it’s still your job to notice that the payments have stopped, even if the error wasn’t of your making. You are the one that signed the agreement, not your employer or your bank.

It really is incredibly important that we all check our payslips and bank statements to ensure that we’re honoring our obligations.

In your case it’s more complicated. Surely if this insurance company says that you instructed them to close the policy then they have a record of that? If they don’t, what sort of filing system do they have?

I suspect that the solution to this is simple. You WILL need to make up the payments you missed if you want the policy re-established, there’s no escaping from that. But let’s see what they say about that letter that doesn’t seem to exist.

Is Jamalife real and legit?

Yes, it’s real. Is it legit? That’s more complicated. If you think pyramid schemes are legit, then yes, it’s legit. However, if like me, you think pyramid schemes are scams run by crooks who exploit the na├»ve, then no, it’s not legit.

Jamalife describe themselves as “an online cum offline network marketing organization and was born out of the need to build up people financially all across the globe to the point of experiencing high quality life in all areas of living”. Which means exactly nothing.

On the subject of products, they talk about “Human Capital Development”, “Food Security”, “Online mail”, “Flight and hotel booking”, “Assets and Property acquisition” and “Financial empowerment”. Again, that’s just meaningless nonsense.

Like all pyramid schemes they require their victims to recruit multiple layers beneath them. With this scam they call their levels Builder, Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Diamond, Crown diamond, Ambassador and finally Crown Ambassador. Within each of these levels there are sub-levels the victims will need to progress through if they want to get to the top. Once you get to the top of “Crown Ambassador” level they say you’ll get R3,900,000 and a Range Rover worth R2,210,000. Sounds great but how many people will you need to recruit to get to this level?

I did the maths. To get to this level the network beneath you would need to consist of 16,777,214 people.

The good news is that for once Jamalife is a pyramid scheme that’s honest about its business model. They say "any rewards or earnings that are offered from Jamalife Helpers Global through the Business Plan is the result of members referring or signing up other willing members". At least they’re honest.

One more thing. At the time of writing this, their web site is unavailable and that’s very often a sign that a pyramid or Ponzi scheme is about to collapse. You’ve been warned!

Saturday, 12 May 2018

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

A genuine funder?

I need your assistance here Sir, of recent I came across this other company on Internet as I was searching for possible funders, I requested for an investment amount of $50,000. We have been communicating via mail till today when I receive their approval confirmation. What scares me is that their procedure was so simple and they never requested any security nor any clause that talks of in case I fail to return the money. I'll send you the agreement letter they sent me and please confirm for me if the company is legit or is just a scam.


There's no doubt about it. This is a scam.

The first clue is the simplest. This isn't how funding works. It's not how getting a loan works. Genuine lenders don't offer large amounts of money to total strangers they met on the internet. Genuine lenders don't lend money without extensive checks, interviews, form-filling and evidence that the borrower can make the necessary repayments. Anyone who's taken a genuine loan will confirm this. It's never easy.

In your case there are other clues. They say they'll lend you around $50,000 (around P500,000) but at only 3% interest? That's unbelievable. Furthermore, they say that the total interest over the five year loan period will be just $3,906? Genuine lenders can do basic arithmetic.

This is actually nothing more than an advance fee scam. There is no loan, no lender, no funder. Nothing you've been told is true. The way is this works is that the scammers seduce you with the offer of a very cheap loan but just before this fake loan is paid to you they'll demand a payment from you first. Sometimes it's a tax or duty, other times an account opening fee, maybe a penalty of some sort. Again it's all fake but that's what it's all about, that fee they make you pay in advance of getting the fake loan.

I'm glad to hear that you haven't sent them any money yet because often when people contact us with stories like yours it's too late and the money has already been sent. And everyone should know this. Scammers don't offer refunds!

Another broken second hand car

About 3 weeks ago I purchased a 2nd hand car for P48,000 from one dealership in Mogoditshane. Within 3 days it showed an engine light in the dash board and then on the 5th day showed another one.

I took the car to more than 5 car technicians and mechanics who made their computer diagnose and found different problems. The last diagnosis report found that it's the computer box which needs to be replaced. I have also fixed the car on so many things, include the engine mountings and plugs.

I have come to decision of returning the car back to the dealership in Mogoditshane. When I include all the minor services I have spent around P8,000 extra on the car. I have all the necessary receipts of some of the expenses. And please advise if a refund is due to me how I will be refunded the purchase price and for the services.

All the problems and expenses have been communicated to the dealer who has asked us to do more diagnosis on the car and insisted its fine. Eventually he asked his mechanic to look at it on 1st May and found all the problems we complained about.

The agreement was that the warranty is only one month if it has an engine problem. And my one month ends on 13th May I guess that's why he keeps pushing I drive the car even if I insist it has problem so that my one month to elapses.


I suspect you're right. The dealer is stalling you and hoping the month will expire before you take action to protect your interests. You need to write him a letter saying that the car is not "of merchantable quality" as required by Section 13 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations and that you require him to honour the warranty that was included in the sale of the vehicle. Make sure that letter gets to him as soon as possible and definitely before the 13th May. On the same day you should also go to the Consumer Protection Unit and lodge a complaint with them. Ask them to call him so that he knows they're on the case. With a little luck these two actions will encourage him to do the decent thing!

Saturday, 5 May 2018

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Must I pay to fix the leak?

Please help me. Last year I engaged a company to do waterproofing on my roof deck. Lo and behold after the first rains in 2017 the deck leaked badly. We called the guy who returned and claimed to have fixed the problem. This year it rained cats and dogs and the deck leaked worse than before. The guy came again and promised to return to fix it. It's now 2 months, he says I should pay P3,800 for him to hire a concrete drill for him to make a new passage for the water because according to him it was the builders mistake. Needless to say he never mentioned any mistake in the builders part previously.

Please help us as I'm worried if the rain stops we will still suffer next time it rains. I find it unfair to pay for a machine when I paid in full for what was to be a complete job.

Thanks in advance.


Regular readers will know by now what Section 13 (1) (a) of the current Consumer Protection Regulations says. It demands that all commodities and services must be "of merchantable quality" which it defines as "fit for the purposes for which commodities of that kind are usually purchased, as it is reasonable to expect in light of the relevant circumstances". Waterproofing a roof should do exactly that. It should be waterproof. Obviously, you can't expect miracles but I'm sure this guy knows the sort of weather we have in Botswana and he should have been able to offer you a product that could withstand it.

This business about demanding money from you to buy new equipment is just silly. It's not your responsibility to buy his company the equipment they should already have.

The important lesson from your experience is whenever you get work like this done to your home, insist on getting a written warranty or guarantee. I don't think it's unreasonable to demand that a specialist builder like this can give their customers some level of assurance of how long their work will protect you. The decent ones do this already, why don't the others?

Meanwhile I'll contact the company and see if they can't be more helpful!

Update. The builder told me that "we are fixing the leak this week and will confirm when all remedial works are done". Let's see if that actually happens!

Where is Ritefurn?

I need some advice. I bought some furniture at Ritefurn at Game City. Now the shop is closed and apparently they owe rent. Now its been four months and have not gotten my items. I'm being sent from pillar to pillar. What can I do?


We've been approached by many people asking the same question. Like you, some have told me they've paid Ritefurn money for goods they hadn't received, other have goods and don't know how to continue paying for them. Everyone seems confused. I've also spoken to the people who were working at Ritefurn and they are worried that people will stop paying them and the business will collapse as a result. However, my main interest is in consumers.

What are the facts? Ritefurn branches are closed. The remaining managers told me that they don't have access to the business bank account. Some customers told me that they were asked to pay the money they owed into employee's personal bank accounts. The last thing I heard was that the owner is no longer in Botswana and I got a message from the number he last used saying that "the operations of Ritefurn is hold at the moment".

Given that even the owner says the company is no longer operating, I urge you not to pay anyone anything right now because there is no guarantee that the money is going to the right place. For those people who have already paid for things they haven't received I suspect you're in for a long wait.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Radio show notes - week beginning 23rd April 2018

Source: Wikipedia
1. Can I take them back?

An email came in saying:
"I bought 2 wheel caps from a dealer last week and it happened that they are of the wrong size. Now I wanted to return them but they are refusing to take them back. What can I do?"
Section 13 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations requires commodities and services to be "of merchantable quality", defined as "fit for the purposes for which commodities of that kind are usually purchased".  That covers things like manufacturing faults. Also, Section 13 (1) (c) says that new means new, not second hand or used, so if the goods are returned the store will undoubtedly lose money if they sell them again.

Did the supplier do anything wrong here? There was no obvious deception and no product faults or failures. Surely this was the customer's mistake?

There is currently no "right" to return things unless they are faulty. We all know some stores that allow this but that's just good customer service, not a consumer right.

2. Do they need to register?
"Are there any regulatory guidelines for becoming a weight loss consultant or gym instructor in Botswana? Is one required to be certified for this purpose?"
The Botswana Health Professions Act, 2001, regulates "Medical, Dental and Pharmacy Professions" but also covers a range of other para-medical professions:
  • "Allied Health Professions" includes Pharmacists, Radiographers, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Opticians, Optometrists, Biomedical Engineers, Clinical Psychologists, Health Inspectors, Laboratory Scientists, Speech Therapists, Audiologists, 
Dieticians, Orthopaedic Technicians, Pharmacy Technicians, Paramedics, Laboratory Technicians, Dental Therapists and Clinical Officers. 
  • "Associated Health Professions" includes Chiropodists, Homeopaths, Naturopaths, Osteopaths and Acupuncturists. (We'll overlook the fact that homeopathy and acupuncture are bogus for now.)
What's missing from the lists? "Nutritionist" doesn't appear so is a meaningless term. "Life Coach" also doesn't appear so you have no knowledge that such a person is qualified or equipped to do anything useful.

"Weight loss consultant" also doesn't appear. So it's not a regulated profession. "Caveat emptor" applies!

3. Get it in writing (yet again)

Exhibit A
"I'm working as a carpenter. Someone followed me at work and asked me to take unpaid leave for some days to do something for him. Now he is supposed to pay me he always give me some excuses that he is busy with some projects and he does not have time to pay me."
The carpenter is owed P23,000. I asked if there was anything in writing?
"No we had agreements through messages even voice calls."
Exhibit B
"About 2 years ago I engaged a building company to make a house plan for me and build it… He charged us P4,200. He insisted we pay the full amount as he needed some of the money to tackle his own things and put in some petrol to go to moshupa to see the plot. I wanted to give him half but he wasn't taking it. Like a moron I sent all the money. Included in was also him taking it to the council for approval. well, he emailed us the plan and it's kinda good BUT he has not taken it to the council. This is the second week of us chasing him and we are lucky if he picks up the phone or if he responds to our texts. Now I would like to know if you know what we can do to get some of our money back since he has not completed our agreement."
I asked if there was anything in writing?
"No. All I have is the Western Union receipts for him"
Exhibit C
"I gave some guy P165,000 to buy me a car in UK but he bought the wrong one that I did not want. This happened in 2016. He gave me P86,000 last year and promised to pay the rest in September. When the time came for him to give me the balance he showered me with insults and told me he doesn't have money. This guy is in UK and he seem doesn't care when I ask him to pay me. What is your advice? please help me!"
I asked if there was anything in writing?
"All I have is bank transfer receipts."
So what's the lesson? Get things in writing. Every single time. It doesn't matter how big or small it is, if you're buying or selling something, get it in writing.

4. Insurance excess payments
"I have a car insurance which was recommended by [vehicle finance company]. About 2 months ago the car was involved in an accident, we took quotations from [repair workshop] to the insurance company and they approved. [repair workshop] told us to bring the car for fixing, yesterday they called saying the car is ready and we have to pay P5,000 excess as the insurance did not cover that. We were shocked as we were not told this before, my husband who has been handling the case went to the insurance and they told him that the premium that I chose I have to pay the excess fee. I know you always blame us for not reading contracts but the one I signed doesn't have that clause. Please help me out what do I do in this situation??"
Almost all insurance policies, whether they're vehicle, household policies or anything else have an excess payment. That's an amount that the customer is required to pay before the insurance company pays the rest. Insurance companies use these excess amounts to stop customers making trivial claims. For instance, if your excess amount is P3,000 and you have an accident that costs P1,000 to repair, you pay it all. However, if the damage costs P10,000, you pay P3,000 and the insurance company will pay the remaining P7,000. If the damage is P100,000, they'll pay P97,000.

The first lesson is to shop around. Usually, the higher the monthly premium you pay for an insurance policy, the lower the excess will be. A low premium policy will often offer a much higher excess. It's a balancing act, a decision to consider before choosing a policy.

In this case, the document the Customer had was a renewal notice, not the actual policy. We contacted the insurance company and they confirmed that the customer had signed for policy document that contains the excess clause. The second lesson is simple. Read all agreements and do NOT sign them until you completely understand them.

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Must we pay?

Sometimes around June 2016 my husband and I purchased a set of chairs on 2 year hire purchase contract.

In 2017 August we noticed that the chairs started peeling and were cracking on the piping around the chairs. we then notified our sale person to assist. After a month or two we contacted him again and were informed that the chairs were now out of warranty. In March this year my husband took the chairs to the store and was told to go back home with the chairs as he should have not brought them to the store and that the someone would come to our house to inspect the chairs but they never came.

I then called the store and spoke to a lady who promised that the Managing Director would come to the house and advice decide on the way forward but the managing director never came either.

On the 20th March we did not pay our monthly payments and were surprised to receive a call on the 21st from the collection department that our payment did not go through and we are in arrears. My husband received another call from the collection department on the 26th inquiring if someone has been to the house to inspect the set of chairs. We are left with about 5 months for the repayments to be completed and contract terminated and we are afraid that after the 5 months we are never going to be assisted.

We therefore request you to step in and assist?


Unfortunately, you're in a very difficult position. If you buy something on hire purchase and you stop your instalments, for whatever reason, even if the store have behaved terribly, you're not entitled to any support. Also, if the warranty has indeed expired already (and they are often only for a year) the store is not obliged to remedy any problems that occur after the warranty expires.

I really think you need to catch up with the instalments as soon as possible and then see if the store will help you. Be prepared for a struggle!

Finally, if you like, I can approach them and see if there is any way they can assist you but I can't promise anything.

Can I get my money back?

Hello Sir. I need your help. I bought 2 wheel caps from a dealer last week and it happened that they are of the wrong size. Now I wanted to return them but they are refusing to take them back. What can I do?


We should begin with what the Consumer Protection Regulations say. Firstly, Section 13 (1) (a) of the Regulations says that goods and services must be "of merchantable quality" which it defines as meaning "fit for the purposes for which commodities of that kind are usually purchased". In other words, things should do what they're meant to do. This also means that if something does NOT do what it's meant to do, or if it's any other way faulty, the consumer is entitled to a solution. The Regulations also protect you against being deceived by a company that sells you something. They can't tell lies.

However, there is one thing that the Regulations don't currently offer you: the right to return things if there's nothing wrong with them. I know that there are some stores that allow you to return things if you change your mind, but that's just good customer service, not a consumer right. It's not something you can demand.

But your case is obviously different. There's nothing faulty about the items you bought and you haven't suggested that they deceived you when you bought them. The dealer didn't actually do anything wrong. It wasn't their fault that you selected the wrong sizes, was it?

There's also another thing in the Regulations that matters. Section 13 (1) (c) says that goods can only be sold as new if they are, in fact, new and not used or second-hand. If the store takes these items back they could only then sell them as second-hand and nobody will pay full price for second-hands items. Would you?

Unfortunately I don't think there's much you can do in this situation other than to suggest that the store only gives you a partial discount if they take them back.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

The Voice - Consumer's Voice

Must I pay the excess?

I have a situation here, I have a car insurance policy which was recommended by my bank as I am paying the car through a bank car loan. About 2 months ago the car was involved in an accident, we took quotations and submitted to the insurance company which they approved.

The repair place told us to bring the car for fixing but yesterday they called saying the car is ready and we have to pay P5,000 excess as the insurance did not cover that. We were shocked as we were not told this before.

My husband who has been handling the case went to the insurance company and they told him that the premium that I chose I have to pay the excess fee, I know you always blame us for not reading contracts but the one I signed doesn't have that clause all it has is that I'm in group 6 and doesn't further clarify the group 6. Please help me out what do I do in this situation?


Unfortunately this is how vehicle insurance works. I know that the vehicle insurance policies I've had (and I've had many of them) have always included an "excess" clause. This is an amount that the customer has to pay before the insurance company pays. In most cases with a vehicle insurance policy it will be a few thousand although the exact amount varies between insurance companies and between policies. The reason they exist is to prevent customers from making trivial claims. With some insurance companies they'll give you the chance to pay a higher premium in return for a lower excess.

I know you sent me the insurance documents you have but they didn't include the actual policy document, just the latest renewal note from your bank. I suggest you get a copy of the policy document from the insurance company and I'm sure it will mention the excess amount.

Meanwhile, I've contacted the insurance company to double check and to find out how one of their customers could have been allowed to sign a policy without having been thoroughly educated on how it worked. And here's a plea to the insurance industry. Please make your policies easier to understand and do more to educate us all on how insurance works. We know insurance is incredibly useful so why aren't you helping consumers to understand how it can protect us all?

How can they blacklist me?

I have concerns regarding my consumer profile. I tried to apply for a credit account at a store recently and I was told the system has declined my request. They suspected I might be blacklisted, therefore I assured them that all my accounts are in good order. The assistant advised me to get a copy of my profile from the Post Office and check if there is any service provider that has done that, although previously I had an issue with another store and my banks due to areas but that was settled last year and everything is up to date.

I went to the Post Office to do just that and surprisingly my profile shows that there is no information submitted by any company under my name, my record is clean. Therefore I would like an assistance upon this issue about the next step to take because I am afraid this is going to tarnish my name upon any future relations I would like to indulge in with any company or service provider.

Please assist me to clear my name, your assistance will be highly appreciated.


I'm sorry to hear about this. It's a story I've heard before. Remember that credit reference bureaux hold both positive and negative information on people. The irony is that if you have no record at all, a potential lender has no information on which to base a decision and rather than seeing you as a person with no bad history, they see you as a complete unknown and sometimes won't take the risk.

It might be worth taking a copy of your TransUnion record back to the store and showing them that you're a good bet? I'll also talk to them and see if they can't be a little bit more flexible!