The Power Report: This scarecrow was no barrel of laughs

26 October 2014 - 02:02 By Megan Power
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The collection of quirky scarecrows outside a popular Western Cape farm stall are billed as the "friendliest this side of anywhere".

It's a pity the same can't be said for their owners, one of whom I had the misfortune of engaging with this week.

Although reader Marie Della-Tola's complaint involves a small amount, the way she was treated by Mooiberge Farm Stall in Stellenbosch, reveals a level of supplier contempt not often encountered. For that alone, it warrants exposure.

The 73-year-old paid R200 up front a year ago for a medium oak wine barrel to use for plants. She was told it was out of stock and was asked to collect it the following week.

Della-Tola drove to Stellenbosch twice from her Strand home after that, but came away empty-handed both times. So she asked the farm stall to call her when stock arrived. It never did, so a month later she faxed a letter requesting a refund. Mooiberge responded with a fax, bearing nothing but a photocopy of a R200 note.

"I was shocked and insulted by the treatment I got," said Della-Tola, who sent a registered letter to Mooiberge expressing her unhappiness with the snub. She demanded the return of her money plus another R220 to cover her trips to the stall, faxes and letters.

Della-Tola heard nothing back from Mooiberge, and left South Africa soon thereafter for an extended stay with her daughter in the US. She e-mailed me on her return.

"I want my money back and an apology," she said. 'The farm stall should not get away with bad behaviour and dishonesty."

Unfortunately owner Dennis Zetler isn't into accountability. Despite three phone calls and three e-mails from me, he's treated me with similar disdain.

I had the phone put down on me twice, and e-mails ignored. I'm hoping the Consumer Goods and Services Ombudsman will have more joy.

Zetler's website gushes that his scarecrows have been photographed by tourists from about "every country on this planet". Farmer Grump should focus more on the locals; like Della-Tola, they're the ones who don't go away.

Tune in to Power FM 98.7's Power Breakfast tomorrow at 8.50am to hear more from Megan

Sunday Smile

At DHL couriers managing director Hennie Heymans who apologised and handled James Buckley's query personally after the customer complained about wasting R50 airtime holding on for an operator to revert to him.

Always nice when bosses get their hands dirty.

Sunday Snarl

At the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, which took 25 days to tell a reader that her application was incomplete, despite her having supplied all requested documents. "No one at the call centre ever answers the phone, nor does the 'new and improved' website work," said the businesswoman.

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