Barbara and Stephen Coetzee of Milnerton felt powerless when the Ottery company, Power Plastics, failed to deliver on time a roll-up pool cover they ordered.
They signed the quotation and paid a deposit of R9 000, more than the 60% required, on December 9 2016, with the promise that it would be delivered and installed between January 3 and 6.
The Coetzees were given confirmation telephonically when they checked to see if Power Plastics would be open as most factories and some businesses close over this period (“Let down by long wait for rollup station”, Off My Trolley May 10/11).
But despite numerous emails, phone calls and a visit to the factory, “nothing materialised except empty promises”.
“Abdul made an appointment to install the cover on March 22 and when the team didn’t turn up we phoned to check why and it emerged that the cover had been lost. We phoned again and this time, LeRoy, who answered, said he didn’t know anything about an appointment but he would find out and let us know.
“However, he didn’t,” said Ms Coetzee.
“It’s impossible to get an answer from anyone at Power Plastics. We have spoken to LeRoy, Abdul, Ray, Walton, Randall, Sanjay and each one gives a different story, they contradict one another and no one knows what’s going on.
“So five months later after our first enquiries and almost four months after we paid our deposit we’re still nowhere. We are fed-up and would appreciate your help.”
Power Plastics director, Carol Formby, said that although the client was told the cover had been lost it does not mean that it was lost.
“The picker responsible for placing the cover in the right picking bay for the right vehicle did not find the cover. If this happens, the supervisor would help to find the cover on our finished goods shelf. This process did not happen fast enough and so the cover was delayed. This is what caused the problem in the first place,” Ms Formby said.
She said the Coetzees insisted that only one installer is allowed on their site. So the only installer they wanted had to be allocated to their job. This person was ill for a while and was allocated to another area, before he could get to Milnerton.
“The cover was installed on Friday April 21 and our installer believed everything was completed. However, the client now believes the anchor bolt was not put in totally perpendicularly. The soonest the client can accommodate a further site inspection on this anchor bolt is Tuesday April 25,” Ms Formby said.
Previously, when Ms Formby spoke to me, she told me that pool covers are all in the detail.
“The reason why Power Plastics has had such a good reputation is that we do not give up on clients. If it is not 100% right the first time we keep going until the client is happy.
“We will do this with the Coetzees,” she said.
Ms Coetzee said the cover was finally installed on April 24 (not April 21, as Ms Formby said). She confirmed there was “a problem with the anchor points of the rollup station resulting in some minor damage”.
“I believe this process was a bit rushed, but one attachment bolt is off the perpendicular making it extremely awkward to fasten without stripping the thread. We are waiting for Power Plastics’s expert technician who is off sick,” said Ms Coetzee.
“Meantime I am holding back on final payment until I’m satisfied or we can come to some agreement,” said Ms Coetzee, who asked if she could withhold the rest of the payment because of the delay and inconvenience.
The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) is not that clear. But you cannot hold back payment, except for remedial work, then you have to make arrangements with the supplier beforehand.
However, when the installation was finally done the Coetzees asked for a discount. The short answer was “no”.
Carolyn Idas, sales and distribution manager, said: “We understand that the pool cover has now been successfully installed and that you are satisfied with the end product. Thank you for allowing us access to your property in order to finish off.
“We have been advised that you have asked us to consider a discount in lieu of the issues experienced and as we always want to be fair to all stakeholders, this has been taken under consideration.
“However, due to the number of hours spent on trying to sort out the matter, the job has been a cost to us in every way and not profitable.
“We trust you will understand if we say no to the discount request and ask that you please settle the final balance.”
Were the Coetzees satisfied? “With this whole issue having taken forever and not having notes and diary available, (they were overseas), it’s hard to say exactly when the job was actually completed. The product is acceptable to a certain standard as for the rest of the dealings with Power Plastics I have no more to say and would rather remain silent,” Ms Coetzee said and confirmed they will finalise the payment when they return to Cape Town.