Beware of 'discounts'

There are companies that seem to think their contracts are valid no matter how uncaring and downright dishonest they were in concluding these with consumers.

There are companies that seem to think their contracts are valid no matter how uncaring and downright dishonest they were in concluding these with consumers.

HomeMark seems to be one such company as it continuously uses dishonest tactics when selling their wares to unsuspecting consumers.

Some consumers accused the company of selling sub-standard goods and over-exaggerating discounts, while others complained about its failure to deliver promised goods or pay refunds after breaching the contract.

Lawrence Maluleke of Limpopo received a call from a certain David from HomeMark.

He allegedly told Maluleke that he was a winner from the Limpopo province and had won goods to the value of R7000.

Maluleke was also promised a 65 percent discount on the goods he won.

He was told he had won a Diamond cookware set and some accessories.

The 35 percent payable was deducted from his credit card.

But when he took delivery of the goods, it was not what he was promised.

"I received a cookware set that consisted of only two pots, a chips fryer, a steamer and a Jump Start juice maker.

"When I checked the receipt that accompanied the goods I realised the value of the goods was R2236," he said.

There was a shipping and handling fee of R179 and tax of R313,13. The total was R2728,76.

He spoke to someone from the complaints division who told him he could return the goods and that only R2200 would be refunded as the other portion was for delivery.

"I found this astonishing given the fact that I was solicited. The goods are so sub-standard that they could not be worth R2000."

l, an online consumer service, has registered about 32 complaints against HomeMark.

Bongani, of KwaZulu-Natal, received an SMS from HomeMark in October last year congratulating him on winning a free gift. "After accepting the gift, a bed, the salesman told me because I was the first caller for the day, I was entitled to a discount of R1500 off the price of R3999,95 .

"I received a discount of R500, not R1500."

l Though July Swart confirmed that the salesman had acted illegally, his problem has remained unresolved.

After being tricked into entering into a R3000 contract, HomeMark offered to refund him R179 and to hold him liable to the contract.

Craig Stadler, the new customer service manager at HomeMark, said they had established that Maluleke was happy during the call with both the goods offered, as well as the price quoted. "Had we in fact billed Maluleke for R7000 and not sent all the products promised, then I would agree wholeheartedly that the consultant was in the wrong."

Stadler said Maluleke received every last item he was promised at the price quoted.

"As far as the discount offered by my consultant, I agree that it was exaggerated and the consultant has been disciplined accordingly."

He said Maluleke was offered a refund by one of his consultants when he returned the goods, but he rejected this offer because he would not be refunded his shipping and handling costs.

"HomeMark has been in business for many years with a very large loyal customer base. I doubt that if we were guilty of the trickery that Maluleke suggests we would still have jobs," Stadler said.

He added that he was doing everything in his power to stamp out the cause of problems such as that experiemnced by Maluleke.