Tombstone supplier lays row to rest

Thuli Zungu Consumer Line
Welile Cebekhulu was shocked he was told about the price of the memorials doubling.
Welile Cebekhulu was shocked he was told about the price of the memorials doubling.
Image: 123RF/oneinchpunch

Many families choose to build tombstones after a few years to allow the grave to "settle", while some do so on the same day as the funeral.

But for Welile Cebekhulu's two dead relatives there was no one to honour the need to erect memorials for them as they had no children. So Cebekhulu's mother took a decision to undertake that task.

But then she died before fulfilling her wish to erect tombstones for his aunt and uncle.

Cebekhulu went on to erect his mother's tombstone before he could build one for his uncle.

Thinking that he was a valued client at Mafika Tombstone in Rustenburg, North West, he went to them in 2015 to buy tombstones for his aunt and uncle. He said the lady who assisted him told him he could pay the balance whenever he was ready.

Cebekhulu paid R18,000 for tombstones worth R21,200 and only returned to the supplier a week ago, he said.

To his shock, he was told that the price of the memorials he was buying had doubled, and that he must pay R19,000 more.

He refused to pay the amount and demanded a refund of his money with accrued interest, but was told he will get it over his dead body, he said.

"I do not think I have to die first before I could get my refund as there was no forfeiture clause I signed with this supplier," Cebekhulu said.

In 2008, the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) banned the forfeiture clause and any contract which does not protect the consumer's rights, Cebekhulu said.

He said from Mafika Tombstones he went to their competitor opposite their shop at Nelson Mandela Street and got two stones for R20,000.

"Clearly, they are a rip-off as their competitor is selling theirs at half their price."

Laurense van Tonder of Mafika Tombstone said Cebekhulu was in breach of his contract. He said his contract stipulated that "the price as quoted shall be valid for a period of six months. Thereafter, the company will only be obliged to effect delivery at the ruling memorial prices".

However, he said he was willing to accommodate him with a discount of R650.

Cebekhulu refused this offer; he had already paid another supplier in full.

Then Van Tonder said he would refund him - less 25% for the admin and production of the stones. This is stipulated in the contract. He said Cebekhulu had given them December 27 2015 as his delivery date and they started with production.

"Please ask Cebekhulu to come to our office [in] Rustenburg to fill out the refund form."

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