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Regulator to seek action against ‘share trading’ software companies

Consumer body says it has finalised some of its investigations.

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) is currently preparing its papers in an application against a group of companies selling controversial ‘share analysis software’. The regulator will be asking the National Consumer Tribunal to rule that the companies have contravened multiple sections of the Consumer Protection Act.

Between 2015 and 2017 Moneyweb reported extensively on its investigations into these companies, which sell the Optimal Market Systems software. They are all staffed and managed by the same people, and owned by either Lucas or Lorien van der Merwe. They use aggressive methods to sell their product, which they claim will guarantee success in trading on the stock market, with returns of 40% in six months.

The companies include Cursu Taurorum, Tenacity Capital, VDM Capital, Pro Equity Management, CT Capital Management, Aeromax Trading, Voltic Direct, Quantico College and Quantico Trading. The Van der Merwe husband-and-wife team have serially registered new companies over many years, but all of them do the same thing, and most of them share a registered address in Hatfield, Pretoria.

Read: Complaints mount over company selling ‘share trading’ software

Consumer complaints

Moneyweb’s investigations identified dozens of unhappy consumers who were promised high returns and money-back guarantees by company salespeople. However, the software they are sold is only an analysis tool and does not allow them to trade on the JSE. Those who attempt to return it for the promised refund are inevitably turned away.

Other questionable sales practices include salespeople requiring new customers to sign multiple credit card slips, which may be connected to unauthorised debits that a number of clients later report seeing from their accounts, and misrepresenting the costs involved. Some customers are also told that they can pay off the cost of the software over a number of months, but their credit cards are then immediately debited for the full amount.

In the years since publishing the articles, Moneyweb has continued to receive complaints about the companies along similar lines. There are also numerous complaints on Hello Peter.

A number of clients who withheld payment when their requests for refunds were refused have been threatened with legal action.

Read: Peddlers of ‘share trading software’ have been at it for years

Clients are also promised daily trading tips and market updates, which many say they never receive. On the Quantico College website there is a tab for ‘daily reports’ which claims to show the ‘latest market news’, but the information shown is more than six months old.

In 2017, two former salespeople told Moneyweb how they had been given extensive training on a sales pitch that they had to be able to repeat exactly. They acknowledged that they had never used the product themselves, and did not know if clients received what they sold them, as they were prevented from ever speaking to them after a sale was made.

Read: ‘I realised that I had stolen so many people’s money’

NCC seeks action

After years of investigation, the NCC has now confirmed that it is set to seek action against the companies. In a written response to Moneyweb, acting commissioner Thezi Mabuza indicated that the regulator will be asking the Tribunal to rule that the companies contravened sections of the Consumer Protection Act that give consumers the right to return products during a cooling off period and receive a refund, and that certain provisions in their sales contracts deprived consumers of their rights under the act.

The NCC will also ask the Tribunal to interdict the companies from engaging in this conduct, and to order them to refund customers. In addition, it is seeking the imposition of an administrative penalty of R1 million, or 10% of turnover.

Any consumers who have a complaint against these companies should lodge it with the NCC. Details are available on the regulator’s website.

Moneyweb requested comment on this story from the implicated companies through their lawyer, but no response was forthcoming.

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When it sounds too good to be true.

True for people who know something about the stock market.
Keep in mind that these people feed on the uninformed.
a Friend phoned me about them. I told him to forget about their 40% promise. He said to me “but look at all the money people make on the stock market?”
And if you can use a name….
A women working in a shop asked me about Bitcoin. She was contacted buy a similar salesman as mentioned above. I told het to stay away. She was told that “…Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa’s son also invest with us..”
The penny dropped when I asked her if the salesman can make so much money why go to all the trouble to try and sell his product?

Most people are not financial literate.

Maybe a subject should be introduced at schools wrt scams?
O and at the same time teach them that an insurance house is NOT an investment house…..

They do overpromise and underdeliver. They abuse the naive consumer. They lie and make false claims for personal gain. They are guilty of all these despicable acts, but they are not nearly as bad as Luthuli House.

@Sensei…hehe….brilliant !!…..

And with these scammers at least you still got some analysis software out of it

With our govt, you hand over your hard earned money and get ‘NUTTING !!

I have been scammed by these people too. Various criminal cases has been opened against them

Lots of people – including myself have been scammed by them for large amounts.

They’ve cold-called me a number of times, trying to flog their system. Every time I asked them why, if it really worked, they were selling software instead of using the software themselves to get rich on the stock market. Not once has any telesales person been answer to explain that one to me.

Only about 20% of investors, who trade actively, are successful. It is HARD work. After 6 years I am only now at a point where I can generate consistent profits. I have paid huge amounts of “school fees” to date. Like anything else you are passionate about, you have to put in the work and develop the skills. This takes TIME. There are NO free lunches in the financial markets. Any promises for returns should be laughed at! My best advice to start off with a demo account.

A software package is to the trader as the scalpel is to the surgeon, a tool. It requires a decade of diligent study and practice to qualify as a surgeon. It takes the same amount of time, and effort, to become a successful trader. Even the best surgeons lose patients, even the best traders lose money. It is how you react to those losses and how you manage the ratio of winners to losers that leads to success.

Only about 5% of traders who trade on margin are profitable over the longer term. These stats are the same for professional golfers and rugby players. Eighty-five per cent of traders who use margin lose all their money within the first year. Of those who survive the first year, 85% will lose everything in the second year. Those commentators who say that trading is a loser’s game, are statistically correct. Then, somewhere among all the chaos and lost capital, there are a few successful traders who keep on executing their proven strategy.

So ja no well fine- with a murder conviction rate of less than 15% in SA we will push for the easy ones!!!

No difference to all pyramid schemes. One court case after the other and last available rand in scheme being spent on legal fees,never a cent left for the investor. Why always must these things carry on for years before an investigation?? But use a k… word, all hell breaks lose and enough people for immediate investigation

Here’s stupid question, if ever there was one: When are people going to learn about being scammed?

No-so-stupid answer: Not going to happen. Always a new one born.

Why? Because of

The NCC has consistently failed in its duty of care of the public. Initially it only had enough budget to pay for accommodation, furniture, motor cars, salaries, maintenance, training and conferences and nothing left for doing any actual work.
The Consumer Act has glaring loopholes that most every crook in the land has used to con the gullible, usually old aged victims into believing that can withdraw from deals within a (very short and restricted) time period. They give false contact information and/or use delaying tactics so that the time period expires. The courts and legal fraternity go along with the crooks and hence the explosion of the criminal activity continues.
No matter, just another honest way of measuring how crooked SA society has become.

And what about the taxi industry? No one dies if your trading software of weak but people die when a taxi is driven dangerously by a lawless, reckless idiot. Someone needs to find out the link between the taxi industry and Government.

Guys, we should stand together against this one. Check on HelloPeter.com for more information ont these scammers. Should we not create a social media platform to be kept informed on what’s happening as well as decide on a collective action?

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