Jet customer sold insurance he didn’t want

| Tariro Washinyira
GroundUp’s photographer went to open an account - and found himself signed up for a handful of insurance policies. Photo by Masixole Feni.

GroundUp photographer Masixole Feni tried to open an account at Jet stores last month - and found himself signed up for a handful of insurance policies he didn’t want.

On 25 August Feni went to Jet in Golden Acre to open an account so that he could buy clothes for his baby boy. He explained to a person at the till that he would like to open an account. A woman called Ntombi [we’ve withheld her surname] was called to assist him.

He says Ntombi asked him to pay R100 and produce his ID, bank statement, payslip, and proof of residence. He handed over the documents and the money but was not given a receipt.

“Ntombi showed me some insurance policies and started to explain their benefits and how much I should contribute if I decide to take them. I stressed to her that I was there to open an account and I was not interested in those policies. Among the policies, there was one to which I was supposed to contribute 30c monthly. She said it was compulsory and it would benefit me in case my card was stolen.

“After agreeing on two things, the 30c compulsory policy and an account, she then handed me some forms and asked me to initial them and put in my signature.”

Feni was surprised to receive the following messages a day after he opened the account: Welcome to Jet Personal Accident Insurance. Policy number FAIC6600393820P. Your policy pack is on its way. Any questions call 0860 113 639 Welcome to Jet Hospital Cashback. Policy number HPF16600085097P. Your policy pack is on its way. Any questions call 0860 113 639 Your Edcon Financial Services OTP is 84866. Entering the PIN confirms your insurance purchase and agreement to all t and c’s for transaction MF15JHB0825100758

On 27 August Feni went to the store to complain that he had received messages about policies, when all he wanted to do was open an account.

The manager told him that employees of Edcon, the parent company of Jet, were responsible for opening the accounts and asked him to come back another day when Ntombi would be there.

Feni was called into the store a week later.

He asked for copies of the forms he signed. He was told the forms were at another branch, and he would be called to come and collect them.

Meanwhile, on 14 September, GroundUp sent questions to Edcon’s media office, asking about the “Personal Accident Insurance” and the “Jet Hospital Cashback” as well as the 30c “compulsory” insurance. Edcon media manager Vuyo Mtawa promised to get replies, and also said that Feni would also be contacted personally.

On 18 September, Mulalo Andy Ramulongo, an investigator from the Johannesburg offices of Edcon, met Feni in Cape Town to hear his complaint. Feni said he wanted the policies to be cancelled. Ramulongo promised it would be done with immediate effect.

But GroundUp has not been able to find out if Feni’s was an isolated case or if Jet customers are routinely signed up for insurance they did not ask for. By 23 September, Mtawa had not replied to GroundUp’s queries and repeated attempts to reach her - or anyone else in her office - by telephone were unsuccessful.

TOPICS:  Economy Society

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Write a letter in response to this article


Dear Editor

This also happened to me. They tell you to come cancel after 30 days but then say that you can't blame them because you have signed. Edgars employees even open accounts for kids saying its a voucher but its an account.

Dear Editor

The same thing happened to us in Jet Store at Vaal mall. My wife was told to sign the slips because she is paying to much fees on her account only to find that there were nine insurance deals added onto her account.

When we went back, they assured me that it would be canceled and the funds would be reversed but then it was deducted again the very next month so I stop paying the account and will settle the account when the money is reversed because the insurance was for her deceased parents.

Then they have the audacity to phone us 4 to 5 times a day threatening to blacklist us while they already did. It's been almost 11 months now.

Dear Editor

This exact thing happened to our tea lady at work and we are in a fight with them to remove the policies but they claim that she signed. She says that she did not sign anything or even received any messages relating to her "policies".

Dear Editor

I went to open an account to Bronkorspriet jet store they told me that when opening an account it's compulsory to take policies. They said I should come and cancel them after 60 days. I went back to cancel them but the debt is still the same asking me to pay R998.

Dear Editor

The Consumer Protection Act is explicit consumers are not obliged buy services they don't want. It's called "bundling". The article should have referenced the legal position.

From January 2018 my credit card company, Standard Bank, is charging R10 a month (that's the minimum; the cost is higher for other cards, e.g., Titanium, etc) for "value-added services" they never asked my permission for and I don't want or need In fact, these kind of so-called value-added and other services benefit the retail provider and their business partners, not necessarily customers.

These practices are unethical and illegal. But one possibility is customers sign documents without reading or understanding, and unaware, are enrolling for services they don't want. In this vein, an acquaintance told me Edgars allegedly asks store card holders to sign a receipt when they use their card for purchases that authorises Absa to charge a R10 transaction fee.

The rule is be careful careful what you sign and know your rights. But even then, as in my case, unbeknown to us retailers are making economic decisions on our behalf. If they're unwilling to give proper explanations or cancel the schemes when requested to do so, customers can complain to the National Consumer Commission, as I did.

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