Consumers compound problems by not cooperating

Consumer Line has noticed that some of our readers do not cooperate with the institutions they do business with and this makes it harder to solve the problems they have with those institutions.

Consumer Line has noticed that some of our readers do not cooperate with the institutions they do business with and this makes it harder to solve the problems they have with those institutions.

On the other hand, some consumers follow the correct procedure but their service providers dilly-dally when they have to pay out a claim.

This is illustrated in the cases of Arthur Mphe and Luckygirl Lekganyana.

Lekganyana's problem dates back to September when her aunt, who had a policy with 21st Century insurance company, died.

She followed the correct procedure for lodging a claim, but six months later 21st Century has still not paid her.

Rocky Seloane, of 21st Century, admitted that he had unreasonably withheld Lekganyana's claim.

But four weeks after he made that admission, the money had not been paid.

Arthur Mphe has not lodged a formal claim for the death benefit to which he is entitled because he believes it is unreasonable for the insurer, Home Choice, to demand a certified copy of a death certificate before it will consider a claim.

Mphe faxed his brother's death certificate to Home Choice, but the company would not process his claim because he had not followed their claiming procedure, which stipulates that only original certified copies are acceptable.

His battle started in December when his brother, who was a Home Choice member, died.

Mphe took out a loan to bury his brother and hoped to repay it when Home Choice released the death payout.

Mphe sent his claim to Home Choice by fax because he thought it would be faster than sending it by post.

Home Choice's manager for customer services, Mark Barrett, said his company insisted on certified death certificates because fraudulent claims were rife.

"The possibility of fraud would be greater if we accepted faxed copies," he said.

Mphe must follow the company's usual procedure if his claim is to be entertained, said Barrett.

"We are willing to accept Mphe's claim, but we ask that he follow the right procedure by posting a certified copy of the death certificate with a letter of authority stating that he is the authorised person to receive the benefit," he said.

He said the Home Choice funeral benefit had always been R2500 and not R10000, as Mphe has claimed.

Barrett undertook to track receipts of documentation to ensure a speedy resolution of the dispute and Mphe has agreed to follow the standard procedure.

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