Extra electricity charges cause friction

Daryl Meyer of Realcor Property Developers said he was going to seek “legal advice on the actions of Shireen Hassiem for running to you and not trying to resolve the matter with us first”.

This, after Ms Hassiem told me she was being charged for debt recovery whenever she bought electricity for her prepaid meter and because Realcor had allegedly not attended to the snag list in her new home.

“I bought a new house in Rondevlei Park and though the bond was approved in March 2015, the house was only completed in December 2016. The municipality charged me for debt recovery whenever I bought electricity after I moved in. When I asked about it, they told me that the developers wrote out cheques that were returned. I addressed the issue with Realcor who said they paid
R7 724. But there is still an amount of
R5 500 that I owe and which is being deducted from my purchases. The developers and their attorney said I am not responsible for this money but I can’t get an answer from the City of Cape Town and the developers are ignoring my calls,” Ms Hassiem claimed.

“I have had numerous problems with the house: rattling in the roof when the taps are opened and doors that have been hung upside down. I was promised that they would fix the plumbing problem in the third week of January but nothing happened.”

I sent Ms Hassiem’s letter to the transferring attorneys because in my experience few builders respond to consumer complaints with any alacrity, and to the City of Cape Town.

But it didn’t take long before Mr Meyer responded.

“I fail to understand why you didn’t contact us for our version of the story instead of going to the transferring attorneys.

“Firstly, Ms Hassiem has not paid our debt. On December 22 2016, we contacted our bank manager to stop the cheque of R50 918 because the electricity department miscalculated the charges for electrical reticulation and connections. Ms Hassiem contacted us on January 24 to say she received a letter from the City of Cape Town stating that the cheque was returned unpaid and that they are charging her extra on her electricity purchases.

“On January 26 we made another payment to the City of Cape Town for R7 274 and Martinique Alexander and Bongi Thulani from the Wynberg branch confirmed that we had overpaid on Ms Hassiem’s bill by R1 830. As far as we are concerned we have overpaid by R1 837,” said Mr Meyer.

“We, Ms Hassiem and her son, drew up a snaglist which we attended to and explained that all other snags they might find would be repaired at the end of the maintenance period (March 23 2017) three months after taking occupation.

“That is clearly stated in the agreement which Ms Hassiem and her son have and we explained it to them again on January 11 while we were attending to retention items,” Mr Meyer said.

Ms Hassiem told Mr Meyer he was welcome to seek legal advice.

She told him she did try to resolve the issue with Realcor first. “Ask Earnley about my recent WhatsApp message which he took his own time to read. You said Salie was going to send someone the next week to clean up the mess in the garage and Ziyaad was going to get a plumber the very same day or the next for the rattling of pipes in the roof,” she said.

If Mr Meyer did send someone, I don’t know because he didn’t reply to me or Ms Hassiem.

Eddie Andrews, Mayco member for Area South, said when the application was made for the supply of electricity, payment for the prepaid connection was made by cheque.

“The payment for the connection fee was returned due to insufficient funds and, therefore, the connection fee was loaded onto the prepaid account for recovery through the prepaid vending system.

“The prepaid account reflects Ms Hassiem as the business partner. The recovery of the connection fee started on January 18. However, the City received a subsequent payment for the full connection fee on January 26.

“We stopped any further recovery and will refund the amount of R96 collected thus far through the vending system in the form of additional units.

“Our records also indicate that due to incorrect information supplied on the service application form, a double payment of R1 837 was made on the connection. This amount will also be credited to the owners of the property via their rates accounts,” Mr Andrews said.

Realcor did overpay by R1 837 so if you wonder why Ms Hassiem is being credited with the amount, I assume it is because the agreement is between Ms Hassiem and the municipality and not Realcor who would have to get the money back from her.

Ms Hassiem said: “Thank you, I’m happy that it was sorted out. So the problem was the municipality itself giving me wrong info every time. Please don’t publish the story as it seems I have been accusing the wrong people (Realcor), even though I tried to resolve it with them first.”

But, as I have explained many times before, if I investigate a story, it will be published, no matter the outcome.