Multiserv serves franchisees

EARLIER this month Consumer Line published reports about the challenges facing budding entrepreneurs who claimed they had been unfairly treated by Multiserv management.

EARLIER this month Consumer Line published reports about the challenges facing budding entrepreneurs who claimed they had been unfairly treated by Multiserv management.

They said they did not get the stalls they were promised by the shoe repair, key cutting and dry cleaning chain.

Those who resold their stalls said they were still waiting for the differences on their sales amounts.

Some said that Multiserv salesman Henk White inflated the monthly turnover.

Multiserv is resolving the issue. It alsoattended the Consumer Protection Act Symposium held in Sandton yesterday and today.

Three franchisees were given refunds after their stories were published . The amount refunded was less the costs Multiserv incurred.

Four were facing lawsuits prior to publication and Multiserv is a proceeding with legal action.

Franchisee Brenda Mabaso i s taking legal action against the company .

The rest are in the process of being sorted out.

Mabaso went to her attorney because Multiserv was only willing to give her a refund of R7000 of the R51000 she paid for a stall in Piet Retief.

Around September 2007 she entered into an agreement with Multiserv Franchise for a shop at the Mkhondo Mall when it was still under construction .

After she had paid R51000 Multiserv said the shop would be ready by 2008.

"But by early 2009 there was no shop. I had been given false information and missed deadlines owing to Multiserv's failure to honour the terms of the franchise agreement," Mabaso said.

With no shop and incurring costs and losses she decided in January 2009 to cancel the agreement and demanded her money back .

Mabaso said she decided to cancel after spending three weeks at the prospective site.

"I realised I would incur further losses and cancelled the deal," she said.

After taking up the matter with Multiserv she received an email from the company asking for her banking detail. Mabaso said they offered to refund only R7000 of the R51 000 she had paid in 2007.

Ayanda Mtanase was the first franchisee who complained about Multiserv. Her problems are now over and she was refunded R60000 of the R68000 she had paid for a stall at Cavendish Glen, Kempton Park, in Gauteng.

She accused White of showing her a stall he knew she would not be able to secure.

She subsequently cancelled her contract and demanded her money back. When she was not given a refund she enlisted the services of an attorney.

Mtanase was refunded her money last Friday.

"Multiserv deposited the money last Friday. Many thanks," said Mtanase's email.

Busisiwe Ntombela was also given a refund. She claimed White had told her he would arrange a loan for her, but when it became time to process the contract he denied ever making such an offer.

This led to her cancelling the franchise agreement, Ntombela said.

She had paid R35000 and was charged R8000 for costs Multiserv had incurred.

Anna Radithalo, who had a 10-year franchise agreement terminated prematurely and her stock was delivered to her house, where it has been collecting dust in her garage for five years. She will get a replacement store soon.

"We are finding her a suitable replacement store and putting together a comprehensive document to address some of the issues raised," White said.

Jason Baloyi complained that White had inflated prices when the franchise was sold to him in 2008.

He said the Newtown store operated for six months with a monthly income of between R3900 and R6465, whereas the projected income had been between R2900 and R37000.

He said Multiserv management was now addressing his concerns.

Ntsizi November was also given a refund after selling his franchisee in 2007.

Ntombifuth Lubisi wants to sell her franchise and White said they would do so as soon as she instructed them to.