Don’t get stiffed on car warranties, or fall for ‘money mule’ bank scams

Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler’s ‘Watch-outs of the week’

06 August 2021 - 15:09 By wendy knowler
If your used car breaks down within six months of purchase, the dealer is legally obliged to fix it at no cost to you.
If your used car breaks down within six months of purchase, the dealer is legally obliged to fix it at no cost to you.
Image: Reuters

In this weekly segment of bite-sized chunks of useful information, consumer journalist Wendy Knowler summarises news you can use.

What you need to know about warranties on used cars

Dodgy used car dealers aren’t big fans of the Consumer Protection Act’s (CPA) section 56, which requires them to take responsibility for things that go wrong in a car within six months of purchase. That’s why many of them insert clauses into their contracts, essentially saying the cars are being sold “voetstoets”, or falsely claim that if the buyer wants a warranty, they need to buy one of those expensive “aftermarket” ones, and from them.

Heidi, who is in the market for a small used car, queried that with me this week.

“I feel so defeated,” she said.

“We've been looking at buying from a proper dealer, because, as I understand, according to the CPA, there should be a six-month warranty on the car, which we won’t get if we buy privately.

“But two dealers have told me I’m wrong, and they offer an optional warranty that I can buy for thousands of rand.

“Please help. Who is right here?”

You are, Heidi.

What a colossal cheek. After-market warranties have their place, particularly from the seventh month, but they carry many exclusions. If your used car breaks down within six months of purchase, the dealer is legally obliged to fix it at no cost to you.

Don’t pay a ‘company’ with one of these bank accounts

I hear from a lot of very distressed victims of fraud. People who saw an advert online, paid the company concerned but never received the goods. In most cases, they paid their money into a Capitec account.

Here’s the thing: Capitec doesn’t have business accounts.

This week the bank told me: “In the case of money muling, the fraudsters tend to target banks with faster processes for quicker results.

“For example, like African Bank, Capitec has the quickest turnaround when opening a fully functional account.

“It can take less than 10 minutes to walk out of a branch with a new banking card and app access, whereas traditional banks take longer.”

Fraudsters pay “money mules” to open bank accounts, and when the victim’s money lands in that new account, they transfer it to the fraudster, thereby ensuring the fraudster remains untraceable.

“Capitec does not currently offer business accounts, therefore people should not believe a business that states it has one,” the bank said.

Should consumers fall victim to fraud — and even if they don’t fall victim to the attempt — it is important to contact the bank to report the incident. Capitec’s 24-hour call centre can be reached on 0860-102043.

It’s the same story with African Bank. The bank only offers personal accounts, not business accounts.

Is there a cut-off for the KOO recall?

Does Tiger Brands’ recall of an estimated 20-million cans produced between May 2019 and May 2021 have a cut-off date?

Navisha asked me that after her failed attempt to return six tins of the affected KOO products to Pick n Pay at the Village Market, Westville, for a refund. She was turned away on the basis that the recall deadline was July 31.

“The newspaper articles did not mention any deadline, and even if they did, surely a six-day deadline is not fair?” she asked.

I’m happy to report Tiger Brands has confirmed the recall is still under way.

“In the recall notification Tiger Brands submitted to the National Consumer Commission, the company indicated we expected the recall to take four months to complete. The information shared with the consumer, in which a July 31 deadline for returns was stated, is incorrect.”

Pick n Pay has said the “relevant team” will rectify that with the store manager concerned.

Others have been miffed by being told they can’t have a cash refund for their returned cans. They must be content with a supermarket gift voucher if that is what a retailer offers.

Because receipts are not required to return affected cans, consumers can return their cans to any store.

Tiger Brands told me it’s up to the retailer to decide whether they’ll refund in cash or with a voucher “equal in value to the returned product”.

What happens then?

“Returned products and affected products removed from shelves are isolated and kept on hold in the outlet store or warehouse for collection by Tiger Brands on a weekly basis.

“The retailers are credited in full by Tiger Brands for the returned products as part of the monthly payment reconciliation process.”

CONTACT WENDY: E-mail: consumer@knowler.co.za; Twitter: @wendyknowler; Facebook: wendyknowlerconsumer


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