My Money Mistake is a weekly PiggyVest series that explores the worst money mistakes real Nigerians have made, and the lessons they learnt from it.
For this week’s episode of My Money Mistake, we spoke to a 29-year-old plastic recycler who got scammed by an agent he contracted for a gig. He tells us how he got scammed, how he was able to make the contract happen regardless, and what he learnt from the experience.
Could you tell me about your money mistake?
I had gone for one of my trips to a dumpsite to source for plastic for my recycling business. This was when I met this agent who was willing to help with sourcing and supplying plastic whenever I have supply contracts. I hired him without doing any research.
We worked together on about four projects and everything went smoothly, but he scammed me on the fifth one.
How did this happen?
I’d been monitoring his progress with the trash he was gathering and had paid him prior to the deadline. I got to the site on the day we had agreed to pick up, and he was no longer there. I even met other people who were also there to meet him for the same thing.
About how much money was involved?
About ₦400,000. When I discovered what happened, I wanted the ground to just open up and swallow me. It was also around the period I lost my dad and my mum travelled. It was a stressful time.
Oh wow. I’m sorry about that. How did you manage that?
It was less about me and more about the company that had paid me for the project. I had to take matters into my own hands by camping at the dumpsite for about a week and doing the work of sourcing the plastic myself.
Then, my uncle also helped me out with the rest of the money. That’s how I was able to recover the money and still make the project happen.
Do you still contract agents for the business?
Yes, I do, but I now contract them through their chairman or community leaders, just to be safer.
What did you learn from this experience?
I learnt that when you’re new in a venture, you shouldn’t just rush into it. You should ask questions, particularly from those who have been doing it much longer. If I had done that, I would have been advised on who to trust or been referred a reliable agent.