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DEAR CONSUMER’S VOICE

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Dear Consumer’s Voice #1
Please confirm for me if this company, Ventura Capital Partners, is genuine. Their website looks real and they want me to invest with them but am a bit suspicious.

When they called me they told me that they have the privilege of obtaining shares before they go into the market at very, very low prices and that if I invest with them they will buy them for me and by the time they go public and are open to everybody I will make money as I will sell at a high price.

Please help.

You are completely right to be suspicious about this company.  There are too many warning signs.

Firstly legitimate investment companies don’t call people out of the blue.  It’s the other way round.  They certainly don’t call you from the far side of the planet to sell you things.  The company who called you is based in Grenada in the Caribbean, 10,000km away.

As you say they have a web site that looks impressive but when you look at it skeptically there are some things that concern me.  For instance they don’t mention the name of a single member of staff.  There’s no profile of the management team, no glossy pictures of the Managing Director, nothing that you would expect from a legitimate company.  In fact when I phoned them to ask the name of their Managing Director they paused, told me another call was coming in, put me on hold and then cut me off.  Do you suspect they either don’t HAVE a Managing Director or he’s on the run from the cops?

It’s not impossible that he or she IS on the run actually.  A little research found that the Financial Services Authority in the UK has this company on a list of what it calls “Unauthorised overseas firms operating in the UK”.

Even the Grenada Authority For the Regulation of Financial Institutions (GARFIN) have issued a press release warning the public around the world that Ventura Capital Partners:

“is not licensed by GARFIN to conduct any type of financial activity in or from Grenada”

and that anyone “transacting any financial activity with this entity will be doing so at their own risk”.

Roughly translated this means that they’re not to be trusted with your money!  I suggest that if you get a call from them you just hang up.  Don’t feel the need to be polite.

Dear Consumer’s Voice #2
In July I threw a party for my son’s birthday and I hired a professional events company to coordinate this party.  I agreed a package with them involving 2 clowns, a jumping castle, video and pictures, chairs and tables, party decorations, music, games and party bags all for P1,750.

I gave them a deposit of P200 and later paid them the balance.  We agreed that they would to come to my home in Molepolole at 9am because the party was due to start at 11am.

On the day of the party, I called him at 8am to give them directions and asked him when he would arrive. My assumption was that he would be on the way already, to my dismay he was still in Gaborone but he promised to leave soon.  An hour later I called him again asking how far he was, but he was still in Gaborone. This routine went on until 12 noon.

I called over and over but still they didn’t arrive as they promised.  Finally they arrived at 1:30. They set up things but again they didn’t keep the agreement we had agreed.  There were no clowns, just the two guys who put on orange wigs.  They didn’t video the event, they only brought 8 balloons, there was no music, no party bags and no games.  They brought a jumping castle but it leaked so it wasn’t inflated most of the time.  By the time they set things up the party didn’t begin until 3pm.

I called the organiser the following day about their failure to provide what I had paid for and told him I want a refund for all they didn’t do.  I also told him that I wanted a photo DVD of the party which I still haven’t received.  He said he’d call me back but I still haven’t heard from him.

Please help me.

I don’t mean to minimise the difficulty you’ve had but this is really an incredibly simple case.  You agreed a contract with these people.  They broke the contract.  End of story.

I suggest you give them 7 days to sort this mess out.  Tell them that if they haven’t given you a complete refund AND an apology in that time then we will name them in The Voice.  Tell them that if this isn’t enough (it almost always is) you will go the Small Claims Court and obtain an order for a complete refund.

The Small Claims Court is proving to be an extremely good source of enforcement for consumers like you and me.  They offer swift and simple justice, exactly what you need in this case.

You have been abused and disrespected and you deserve a refund.

Let us know how they react to your demands.  Let’s see if they want to be famous!

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