Client finally gets help after a 7-year wait

Thuli Zungu Consumer Line
Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport similar to that of Mfundo Zungu.
Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport similar to that of Mfundo Zungu.

Treating customers fairly and resolving their complaints should be a priority instead of frustrating and causing them to seek an alternative from dispute resolution agents.

It took Renasa Insurance Company Limited seven months to resolve a client's complaint. This was after Mfundo Zungu, 25, had approached Consumer Line after exhausting the insurance company's internal procedures.

If it was not for the intervention of the ombudsman for the short-term insurance (Osti), Zungu would be sitting with an instalment to repay and a challenge to raise R180,000 in order to replace an engine of a car that was damaged in an accident in July.

His worries are now over, thanks to the intervention of the ombudsman. Zungu's complaint was referred to the ombudsman after Renasa failed to honour his claim following a Consumer Line intervention in December.

Judy Green, a claim manager at Renasa Insurance, agreed to settle Zungu's claim last Friday. The insurance company will now include the cost of repairing his car, Green said.

"Renasa have agreed with Osti to include the cost of the engine into the claim," she said. Green said Renasa will uplift Zungu's old engine as a salvage.

"Please request from your client the receipt for the engine replacement and advise the location of the damaged engine," she said. In November, Zungu accused Renasa of unfair business practice and bullying him.

Zungu, from Bryanston in Johannesburg, was angry Renasa had asked him to lodge a claim with his broker or Mercedes-Benz because the car still had a warranty which would expire next month.

Apart from that, Renasa did not fully investigate his claim or the scene of crash but it told him that the oil from his car had been leaking for quite a long time and suffering from a manufacturer's defect, he said.

Zungu was driving to work on July 15 when he heard a load thump coming from his car. He did not know whether the noise came from a pothole or he had hit something. He proceeded but when he was about to reach his place of employment all lights from the dashboard turned on and he heard a funny sound as if the car was struggling to shift gears

He said he had just taken his Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport A/T for its regular service and did not expect any shortcomings after the month-old service.

He stopped to examine what was going on but could not detect anything. "But surprisingly the car could not start,'' he said.

He said he informed Renasa about the incident but claimed no one from the insurance company showed up for an hour to assist him. In the presence of his father, Sandile, they then called VAG specs centre who immediately came to his assistance, he said.

"When VAG started towing the car away we noticed that there was puddle of oil on the road which was where the car had been stationary while waiting for assistance," he said.

He said he noticed the second puddle of oil on the same spot. "Clearly, the leakage was caused by the object that caused the loud bang I heard before it lost its power and eventually stopped."

He said after completing a claim form he was questioned and guided on how to answer questions which he found intimidating and bullied to lodge a claim with Mercedes-Benz or his broker instead.

"A few days after the interrogation, I was required to provide a trip report since my car is fitted with a Matrix tracker," Zungu said.

He said just over a month later, Renasa repudiated his claim on the grounds that he drove the car with an oil leak for a long time after the accident.

Zungu said Renasa did not bother to visit the scene of the accident or get a report from VAG. Consumer Line sent queries to Renasa about Zungu's complaint and an email from the insurance company said its complaints' section needed more time to investigate the matter.

We then referred Zungu's complaint to Osti which successfully intervened.

*Thuli Zungu is not related to Mfundo

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