Matthew Lester: January woes and Cape Town sushi skimming scams

January is always a lousy month. Bills, bills and even more bills.

Slow cash flow. Follow that with a top up payment for any tax left from 2014 and a second provisional due at the end of February for the 2015 tax year. And don’t underestimate on the second provisional or SARS will hammer you with a hefty penalty.

No wonder the crisis centers will tell you that their most hectic month is January. And divorce attorneys will tell you that more cases start in January than any other month.

I get depressed and I don’t even have the back to school expenses or a child wanting to enrol at university.

So I get on the road and try and make the money back. And by lunchtime on the first day my credit card got skimmed. So now it’s the hassle of forms, forms, forms and eventually a new credit card.

Then the stop orders on the old card bounce and its stand in bank cues to get them paid so communication channels stay open. I am not so hot at remembering card numbers and security codes so everything slows down.

By the end of the week I was thinking ‘stuff this for a lark, why don’t I just become a casino spiele bum and smoke some dope in the Transkei.

So somebody tried to use the card and I am told that the transaction will be declined, so it shouldn’t actually cost more than a few more fees. Thank goodness I picked up the problem on an SMS immediately it happened.

But here’s what really makes my blood boil.

The credit card concerned is only used when I travel. So it had been dormant for more than a month while I was fishing. The problem started straight after the first time I used it. And that was at Willoughby &Co, the fine sushi joint at the Cape Town Waterfront. So I phoned them and pointed out that they have a problem.

The manager was quite nice about it and took my details, assuring me that someone would follow up the next day.

I’m still bloody waiting for the call. Meanwhile there’s a cue of patrons waiting. I wonder how many have been skimmed in the interim.

This article also appears on www.biznews.com


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