Monday, March 08, 2010

Rant About Request For A Bribe

I'm furious, because I've had to play a dishonest game and pay a bribe. And yes, I am going to report these people when my business with them is done. Here's the story:
In May last year my partner had a car accident, where a municipal truck collided with his car on a street corner. Thankfully, no one was hurt and the driver of the truck never denied that it was his fault - he ran a red robot. The municipality also did not contest our insurance claim and filed it with their insurance company.

The assessor the municipality sent declared the car a complete write-off. Then he asked for a bribe of R5000. When we refused to pay, he said insurance claims usually take too long and it would be advisable to us to get a lawyer to represent us. Someone who can speed up the process. Obviously, the lawyer would have to be paid. My feeling was, what do we need a lawyer for when the case is straightforward?

There were numerous delays with the insurance company. I was annoyed, because it was costing money to run a second car while the shell of the first sat in my yard, gathering dust. Then the consultant said the claim has been forwarded to a law firm and to liaise with their rep directly. During the phone call to set up the appointment, the representative said it would cost R2500 cash, upfront, to sort out the issue. From the beginning, it was clear this was not the kind of payment we would be officially invoiced for.

So I went with my partner to meet with him and I asked him numerous times if he needed any documents to sort out our issue. He said he did not. I asked him if there was anything else he needed and he said no. He also promised that teh claim would be resolved within a week, now that they had all the documents. No money requests were made in my presence.

An hour after our meeting, he phoned my partner, asking him why he brought me along. He also demanded the money again. After a short discussion, we decided to pay. We'd been waiting since May last year for payment, and the car that was damaged was actually a source of income as a cab. So my partner had been losing money all these months and we just want the whole problem to be solved. And I suspect if I make waves now, we may never see the payment in medium term and in terms of income, my partner actually can't afford to keep waiting anymore. Everyday without that car is income lost.

But, we also agree that once the insurance claim money has been paid up, I'm going to blow the whistle. These people have no right to take R2500 that does not belong to them, just to do their job. I also don't want to be a victim/ to be helpless, and having to pay a bribe is being a victim. And all that moralistic crap aside, I want revenge. No one cheats me and gets away with it. And if it's the last thing I do, they will pay. And if the legal methods fail me, I will name the law firm and the insurance company on my blog. And the person who asked for a bribe gave us a business card and I will have no problem naming names here. This bribery problem that plagues South Africa has got to stop.


Trish Donmall said...

Good for you Damaria. I think you're right though. Right now you need to shut up and put up I'm afraid, but as you said once it's all over and you have your money I'd love to see the name of the Law Firm and Insurance company on your blog! :-)

Corinna said...

Is this you that this happened to Damaria? Sorry that you felt you had to pay the bribe in the end because you will have scotched any recourse to the law, I suspect, by paying.
I just hope that you do get them for this. They are clever though, let's face it, as it will be very difficult to prove that you paid them money, the lawyer will not be completely stupid and will have covered his tracks, because it is his future down the drain for a relatively small amount of money. There is obviously a lot of collusion going on here too.
I will be rooting for you. Did you manage to record it on your cell phone at all?

po said...

Hectic, I thought you would be safe from bribes in that sort of situation. Not cool.

Damaria Senne said...

Corinna - I'm not afraid of having to prove that they did it. Afterall, I don't personally know the people, don't have anything invested in them, and if my insurance claim is paid, wouldn't be seen to have a grudge against them. And if I accuse them, said employers will feel obligated to investigate, if only to prove me wrong. And I suspect if they look closely at their files, they may find people who's claims should have been rejected but the cmpany paid because these people were bribed? My only concern is that if there is collussion, the people may be pissed off enough to come after me. If they know it's me making the accusation. But, I'm making my stand anyway.

kwerekwere said...

this place and bribery is ridiculous. someone asked if i would pay a bribe to sort out my immigration status last year, and i actually had to stop and think about it.

given the amount of time it's taking to do it the right way, i'm starting to think that i should have paid it.

can you anonymously call the ombudsman?

Damaria Senne said...

Or sorry about you immigration issues. If you're who i think you are, shouldn't it have been sorted by now?
As to calling the ombudsman, I'm not even worried about anonymity. If I have to sit someone down and explain what happed ( person), I will do so. My last resort is to name the companies on this blog; I'm even angry enough to name the actual person who was paid.
P.S. Is there a law against my naming the people?

Tamara said...

That makes me so angry to hear. Good for you, Damaria. If all else fails, put a complaint on Hello Peter.

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