THE EDITOR, Sir:
Media are now highlighting the apparent fraud by the entity offering cars on hire purchase.
I lost $3,000 in my attempt to get a 2010 Tiida from an entity, and even though I had a negative feeling in my gut, I still paid the sum.
I responded to the article which advertised an offering for vehicles on hire purchase and went in to the entity, this after not being able to get through on the telephone numbers in the ad.
The young lady at the reception area provided me with the requirements for applying for a vehicle by scribbling the info on a piece of paper. When I saw her doing this, I suggested that since she might be having a number of persons making enquiries, why not type out the info and make copies. Her response was that the boss did not want to do that, so I took the paper and left to start gathering the requirements, but still had my doubts. Red flag 1.
not adding up
In order to see whether the offer was a good one, you had to at least start the process by taking in the documents and paying the $3,000 credit-check fee. After the credit check, which took between three and five working days, you would be advised of your status. I was called after the time and advised that I was approved and should come in and pay the first instalment, plus a $47,000 processing fee.
The payment plan in the ad spoke to a $20,000 repayment per month; however, the information I got suggested $24,589 over five years. My calculation showed that, after paying that amount over five years, the total was approximately $1,475,333, and the first month's deposit would take it to $1,499,921, which was a $79 differential from the $1.5m cost. Red flag 2.
more red flags
I did some checks on the Internet and found that an organisation with a similar name was registered in Mauritius and it obtained ISAE3402 Type II certification for its internal-control procedures. This was done by an internationally renowned auditing firm which, when I contacted the local office, the representative was not aware of such certification. Red flag 3.
Further enquiries led me to the Bank of Jamaica and the Financial Services Commission, as such an entity must be regulated. The officer I spoke to at each entity did not know of the organisation. Neither the Trade Board nor a credit bureau, with which I spoke, knew of the organisation. Red flag 4.
After my research and having come up blank on all accounts, and checking with the persons I used as reference, I decided not to pay the additional sums which were asked of me.
Valentine Gardens, Kingston 19