Don't jump for joy over that trampoline - it might be a scam, watchdog warns
Beware the online trampoline purchase scam, the consumer goods and services ombudsman (CGSO) warned on Monday.
“The CGSO has received numerous complaints from consumers who have made a full payment or deposits ranging between R3,200 and R6,300 to SA Trampoline - an online business which manufactures and installs trampolines - on the promise that the goods would be delivered and installed within 7-14 working days, but the company has … failed to deliver the goods or refund consumers,” the ombud said.
In most cases, more than three months had passed since the orders were placed.
“The owner of the company has not disputed receiving the payments, but has failed to honour his promises to deliver and install the goods,” the ombud said.
The victims include homeowners, schools and accommodation venues.
"While we will escalate the matter to the National Consumer Commission for further investigation and possible prosecution, we cannot allow this supplier to continue taking hard-earned monies from consumers with the intention not to deliver the goods," said ombudsman Magauta Mphahlele.
One of the victims, Conrad Blom, who has since been refunded by SA Trampoline owner Hannes Pieterse, has created a Facebook page to co-ordinate the refund and possible prosecution effort, and to warn others from doing business with the company.
Blom has so far compiled a list of about 30 people, jointly owed almost R200,000 by Pieterse.
In June, Pieterse told Times Select he had a physical base in Rosslyn, and was not “ducking and diving”.
“We’ve been in business for 15 years and delivered 30,000 to 40,000 trampolines in that time,” he said. “And we are still sending product out every single day.”
Pieterse blamed his lack of delivery on a backlog created by problems with the supply of trampoline springs. He promised to deliver all outstanding orders by June 28, but failed to do so.
The SA Trampoline website is still operational and Pieterse continues to respond to sales queries via e-mail.
“Please have a look at the products and let me know which you are looking at and I will send a formal quote,” he told a Graskop resident at the weekend.
Mphahlele said: “We will continue to publish the names of non-cooperative suppliers, especially in instances where they take peoples monies with no intention to deliver the goods or services.”
She urged consumers to verify the credentials of online suppliers and their track records in delivering what they promised before paying upfront for orders.
Blom has invited those who have paid SA Trampolines but received neither their trampoline nor a refund to email him at email@example.com.