More complaints about stock exchange software

Since an article appeared in Sowetan about unfair business practices at Stock Market College (SMC), Consumer Line has received more complaints.

Since an article appeared in Sowetan about unfair business practices at Stock Market College (SMC), Consumer Line has received more complaints.

We reported that SMC sold computer software packages purported to help people understand how to trade on the stock exchange.

But the company does not deliver the software or train its customers.

The software is sold for R10000 and a subscription fee, which varies from R159 to R200, is also charged.

Consumers are allowed to cancel the contract, but must do so within five days.

l Bukula Skhosana said he cancelled within the prescribed period, but has not received his refund from SMC .

He said his money was debited by SMC, but when he demanded that it be refunded Zelda van Pletsen, the director of the company, referred him to her distributor, Joe Ndhlovu, of Polar Bair.

"Ndhlovu also refused to refund my money, claiming that I did not comply with their five-day cooling-off period," Skhosana said.

He said SMC unfairly included Saturday and Sunday in the cooling-off period to avoid repayment to clients.

Consumer Line has a contract on SMC's letterhead signed by Skhosana, but van Pletsen said he was not her client.

She said Skhosana's money was banked by Ndhlovu's company "and Skhosana has to obtain his refund from him".

Ndhlovu said he received commission of R2500 and the rest was deposited to SMC.

"But if he cancelled before we [Ndhlovu and SMC] split the payment, I will refund his money," he said.

l Cynthia Monakale claims that SMC debited R7500 from her account after her application was declined.

"I received an SMS a week after signing up stating that my contract was declined, but R2900 was debited from my credit card and R4600 from my budget account.

Van Pletsen said Monakale was signed up by Ndhlovu's office on July 5.

"Her instruction to us was to debit her account for R4 600 and R2 900, which we did.

"She is a fully fledged client, having been registered on our download," Van Pletsen said.

"We don't send SMSes to confirm dealings with our clients. We just don't work that way.

"I am in contact with her to see what actually went on."

A not-so-pleased Monakale said Van Pletsen refunded her R2622 on Friday after Consumer Line's intervention.

Ndhlovu agreed to refund his commission of R2500.

l Douglas Phahlane said their broker disappeared after he signed the contract.

"She has not contacted me since I let her debit R9000 from my credit card," he said.

Phahlane said he also authorised a debit order of R149 from his cheque account, which he pays, though he has not received the promised software or training.

"I was not told that I needed the Internet to access the product.

"I was promised regular training in Sandton, which never materialised.

But Van Pletsen is adamant that Phahlane was trained and received the software.

"He was shown how to operate his download when the lecture was offered. If the client doesn't utilise the programme in 32 days the data on the compact disc expires," Van Pletsen said.

l A source, who did not want to be identified, said the product costs less than R200.

The source said clients pay R10000 plus a R159 fee for 36 months for packaging worth R20, a book worth R80, a compact disc worth R7 and a manual with information that can be accessed free from the websites of Standard Bank, Dynamic Wealth and Moneyweb.