From returns to scam
alerts to creating a paper trail. Know your rights as a consumer. ECR’s
Consumer Watchdog, Wendy Knowler, is giving us daily consumer tips to help
empower you as a consumer.
From returns to scam alerts to creating a paper trail. Know your rights as a consumer. ECR’s Consumer Watchdog, Wendy Knowler, is giving us daily consumer tips to help empower you as a consumer.
1. Create your own evidence
If things go pear-shaped with your service provider, you’ll most likely need a good “paper” trail to get justice. So how do you document in-person encounters and phone calls, other than electronically? After every call and face-to-face, send an e-mail to the person you engaged with, summarising what happened and what undertakings were made. That way you create your own “evidence” of what went down, and if the other party doesn’t dispute your version, it stands as accurate, should third parties get involved later.
2. Do this and you invalidate your cellphone insurance
Did you take out phone insurance with your cellphone service provider? If so, do you know that that phone is only covered if your contract SIM is in the phone when it gets lost or stolen? Pop another SIM in the phone and you’re wasting your premium every month. Oh, and check your bank statement to make sure you’re not still paying to insure a phone you last used years ago. It happens!
3. Can I return this?
The Consumer Protection Act’s right of return confuses a lot of people a lot of the time. So here’s the very short version: if you buy something in a shop, you have no legal right to return it at all, not unless it becomes defective within six months. But if you buy something online or as a result of direct marketing, such as a telesales call, you get the benefit of a five-business day cooling off period in which to change your mind for no particular reason and get your money back.
4. Car theft by Tech
If your car has a keyless push start it’s potentially a target for thieves who make off with entire cars within minutes of their owners parking and walking away. Armed with a receiver and a pick-up device, hidden in a laptop bag or backpack, they watch a victim park, follow them into a shopping centre, and then get within five metres of them in order to pick up the signal that the car “key” constantly sends out. With that signal safely captured on a “repeater” they return to your car which picks it up and off they go. Later they programme a new key. Car manufacturers are scrambling to outsmart the syndicates, so engage with your dealership about what their solutions are or buy yourself a "faraday pouch" for your key fob, to block the signal when you’re parked.
5. Save this number
Have you heard of Yima? It’s a platform recently launched by the SA Fraud Prevention Service, SAFPS - a free one-stop-shop for South Africans to report scams, secure their identity, and scan any website for vulnerabilities related to scams. You can also sign up for Protective Registration, which protects you against identity theft and impersonation. Save the number: 083 123 SCAM (7226)
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