Andries Pieterse, the owner of Medical Oxygen Supplies, didn’t show much love when I phoned him on Valentine’s Day to discuss a complaint from customers Fuad and Koelsum Hoosain of Woodridge, Mitchell’s Plain, about non-delivery of a steamer they use for ozone therapy at home.
It was clear that he knew about it and he told me Medical Oxygen Supplies had already delivered another steamer. Then he accused me of threatening him. Me? I am one of the most polite people I know and he told me to deal with his legal department. And while I was asking for their details he slammed the phone down.
Ms Hoosain said she bought a mobile ozone capsule from Medical Oxygen Supplies on March 21 2015, which was fully paid for within three months. “I have been struggling to get a replacement steamer with empty promises from Mr Pieterse and his sale reps, Nico and Jaco. I contacted Mr Pieterse at the end of October 2016 and explained to him that the steamer does not work. He said he would send a replacement the following day. I contacted him two weeks later and he told me he was waiting for the manufacturers to send a new white steamer as the pink steamers were proving to be problematic.
“Two weeks later, I phoned again on a Monday and he said that it would be delivered by Friday of the same week. This was another empty promise.
“Every time I phoned, it was another story. When I phoned Nico in December 2016 he said that the business was closed for the holidays but was scheduled to open January 9,” Ms Hoosain said.
When they reopened, Ms Hoosain told Mr Pieterse she was still waiting for the steamer.
He said the white steamer would be delivered. A week later, Nico and Jaco brought a pink steamer with no lid.
“I used the lid from my previous steamer, only to find that the steamer itself was cracked and leaked profusely while I was undergoing treatment in the capsule. As you can imagine, this is a hazard and very dangerous as it operates with electricity.
“Since then, I phoned four times again asking about my replacement steamer.
“Later that week, Nico and Jaco brought me another pink steamer which I refused as I was promised a white one bearing in mind that the owner told me that the pink steamers are problematic. They took the steamer back again and promised that a white one would be delivered on Monday. I am still waiting. The reps asked me to recommend people who were interested in the product.
Although the product is good, I am hesitant to refer anyone as their after-service is pathetic. I cannot use the capsule as it cannot operate without the steamer. I am tired of empty promises. Please help,” Ms Hoosain asked.
Within 30 minutes of my call
Mr Pieterse contacted the Hoosains.
“A great big thank you for contacting Medical Oxygen Supplies on our behalf. Since the letter and your call, we have received a new pink steamer and we can use the capsule for our treatments. In addition, Mr Pieterse told me I would receive the white steamer as soon as a shipment arrives. He urged us to let you know as soon as possible. We don’t know how to thank you enough,” the Hoosains said.
But there was no explanation from Mr Pieterse about what happened, even though he promised to send me a response when he called to check if the Hoosains had contacted me.
When I called the Hoosains on March 30, Medical Oxygen Supplies had still not sent the promised white steamer, their daughter said. Somehow I don’t think that particular ship (ment) will be arriving any time soon.
The snail’s progress
Jose de Sousa wrote to me in November last year on behalf of his in-laws, the Pestanas who had been trying to get their faulty water meter replaced since July (2016).
“My in-laws don’t speak English very well and I am trying to help them. I also reported the problem to the municipal offices in Goodwood on September 23, last year, and the water department promised to send someone. But they didn’t,” said Mr De Sousa.
In November, Ernest Sonnenberg, who was then Mayco member for utility services, said the report of a faulty meter was received on September 23 and on October 28, an inspector asked for a replacement.
Mr Sonnenberg said the delay was due to a backlog in service requests and would be done as soon as possible. He advised the Pestanas to make provision in their finances for an unexpected increase in their water bill.
That’s okay, then. I suggested to Mr De Sousa if the meter wasn’t replaced soon he should contact Mr Sonnenberg, who is now a sub-council chair. Which he did in November but he didn’t get a reply and the meter is still faulty, Mr De Sousa told me on March 6.
Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy, Xanthea Limberg, said the customer has been contacted and an appointment has been made to replace the meter.
“The City apologises for the oversight,” Ms Limberg said.
Mr De Sousa confirmed that the meter was replaced on March 9. “It’s amazing the work you do for the community. “Thank you so much for your help on this matter.”
Seventeen months to replace a water meter? Some oversight that is from the City whose slogan is “Making progress possible. Together.”