Consumers can rest assured of our help

20 December 2006 - 02:00
By Thuli Zungu

Fighting for consumers' rights is not easy, but Consumer Line will continue badgering any company or individual who fleeces clients.

This article was published on 6 December 2009

Consumer Line would like to thank all those companies who resolved their clients' complaints satisfactorily.

We also want to warn our readers to be consumer-wise and not sign contracts without reading the fine print.

Many people have received bonuses and might be tempted to buy items they will later regret because they will not be able to pay for them

It is best to save first and buy with cash because there are no finance charges and interest.

Avoid debt and remember that in three weeks time you will have to buy school uniforms and books.

The purpose of this article is to recount some of the experiences I had with service providers whose business ethics are questionable or immoral.

Last year a caller threatened to kill me for exposing his unscrupulous business practice. The only reason he could not carry out his threat was because I recognised his voice.

This year a business provider tried to get my boss to fire me. Her company, Stock Market College (SMC) is still repaying consumers that they ripped off.

Consumer Line reported that SMC's computer software, worth less than R200, was sold for R10,000 plus a subscription fee of about R200 over three years.

Our intervention resulted in consumers getting their money back, though some only received partial payment.

Some service providers have even tried to bribe me.

For instance, Giles Lelahla, of Actebis Transport, tried to stop publication about his business dealings. Clients accused him of luring them into buying trucks and offering them lucrative assignments which did not materialise.

One client left his job and invested in Lelahla's business. He lost all his savings. Clients had paid Lelahla over R200000.

Lelahla tried to gag the publication of the article. He offered me a stack of R100 notes. Naturally I refused the bribe.

Broer, in the business of championing the cause of consumers, we will not compromise their rights. We also do not accept payment from thankful readers. In a nutshell, we are ethical.

Consumer Line also does not advertise for companies who rip off our readers. We stopped Jumbo Brick and Timber from advertising in Sowetan after 30 readers complained that they did not get material they paid for from this company.

The company later engaged the service of their attorney and pledged to resolve the consumers' problems as soon as possible.

Some readers have still not received their money or goods and have laid criminal charges against Jumbo Brick and Timber.

It is not Consumer Line's intention to increase the unemployment figures, but a manager at Morkels lost his job after we exposed his wayward dealings.

Stan Mabuza fraudulently bought furniture on clients' accounts.

He asked the clients' permission and promised to repay them, but never did.

In some cases he did not even ask for permission. Mabuza absconded from work after we exposed him.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

- This column will be back on January 11.