Something's cooking for scam victim

Thuli Zungu Consumer Line
Nokuthula Ngubane who was swindled out of R20 000 has been rescued by a well-known chef.
Nokuthula Ngubane who was swindled out of R20 000 has been rescued by a well-known chef.
Image: Supplied

Help is on the way for Nokuthula Ngubane. She was swindled out of R20 000 after paying Tracey Williams of The Whacky Cake Heaven to set up a baking franchise which never materialised.

But a good Samaritan, Paul Maciel of The Cookery, responded to an article Sowetan published on August 15 about Ngubane's plight.

Maciel - who runs a social cooking school, writes about food and is in charge of several restaurants - offered to help Ngubane to set up her business free of charge. 

Maciel explained: "So I will provide baking training, some basic baking equipment, baking trays, muffin trays, and also help design and develop a brand, and [help with] launching of the social media presence."

Already Maciel has helped register the company, said Ngubane.

Ngubane, 32, came across The Whacky Cake Heaven in October 2016 when surfing the internet. She made contact with Williams to enquire about a franchise.

Ngubane said she was given a breakdown of basic franchise options which outlined the kit content, earning potential and an overview.

All the entry options included a comprehensive starter kit plus business cards, car magnets, web page and an
e-mail address.

Ngubane explained that although she could not see the traceable information about the franchisor company, including contact details and details of professional
affiliations, she had thought The Whacky Cake Heaven was legitimate, based on the years of existence as shown on the company's website.

However, she recently discovered that Williams is based in England.

Due to ignorance, she did not ask for a copy of a franchise disclosure document required to show transparency in terms of the Franchise Association of South Africa's code of conduct, Ngubane said, noting she had paid R20000 to ensure she got training before the festive season.

She had rushed through the entire process because, as she was allegedly told, there was only one training session left before the end of the year.

However, Ngubane said the training session was cancelled because few people had registered for the course.

It was rescheduled but still it failed to take place.

Ngubane does not even have a copy of a contract she signed with the company because the contract was posted online.

And after many promises, the baking equipment also failed to arrive at her address. Finally, Ngubane gave up.

"This will be a thing of the past; Maciel has come my way to wipe my tears away. I am revived, so motivated, and over the moon. Maciel has done amazing things for me; I love everything he has done for me so far," said an excited Ngubane.

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