Lounge suite repairs don’t suit customer

Millicent Sigaqa bought a lounge suite at Lewis Stores, in Athlone, in December 2014, but when she noticed the stitching was coming loose six months later and the arm rests were getting flat and flabby, the Langa resident reported it to the “store clerk in June/July 2015”.

“They collected the furniture after several phone calls and after they returned it, I noticed the three-seater recliner couch is no longer reclining and the fabric on one of the seats was peeling again. After several phone calls and visits to the store, they finally came to collect it for repairs in April or May 2016,” Ms Sigaqa said.

“It was returned on Thursday May 26 but I was again disappointed. The recliner was repaired, but the fabric used on the armchairs was totally different from the original.

“I refused to accept it as I was unhappy with the result. Even the cotton stitching they used was different.

“The couches came back on Monday May 30, but as they had not been repaired, I returned them and refused to accept them. The store manager told me that they do not have the original fabric and the lounge suite is an import so there is nothing they can do.

“I am very unhappy with the way Lewis is treating me, as I am still paying for this lounge suite, and I have nothing to sit on. They are not even concerned about me, and they expect me to accept whatever they offer me. I am paying too much for this lounge suite, and I don’t expect to be treated this way,” Ms Sigaqa said.

Natalie Hendricks, spokesperson for Lewis Stores, said they investigated and found that Ms Sigaqa’s husband had bought the lounge suite from the Athlone branch on January 10, 2014 and not in December 2014, as Ms Sigaqa said.

“It is most unfortunate that Ms Sigaqa has had to return this lounge suite for repairs on two separate occasions and that she remains unhappy with the result. This is an exceptional case, rather than the norm, and we will be taking it up with our supplier and the repair company to ensure that this does not happen again,” Ms Hendricks said.

“We have, in the meantime, contacted Ms Sigaqa to apologise for the inconvenience she experienced and to invite her to visit our store to receive a new lounge suite to replace the defective one.

“Ms Sigaqa visited the store to view the new lounge suite and indicated to our branch manager that she was happy with it. We have already delivered it to her and I have also personally contacted her and she confirmed to me that she is happy with the manner in which her complaint has been resolved,” said Ms Hendricks.

And what did Ms Sigaqa have to say? Not a peep. I sent her several emails asking her to confirm that she has received her new lounge suite. But they went unanswered. So, I can only assume she is happily lounging about in her lounge on her new suite.

Savings under the spotlight

The poor savings record of South Africans will again be in the spotlight when Savings Month starts in July.

There is a low national savings rate of 15.4 percent of GDP, and despite numerous efforts to get citizens to save more and invest more, many people still find it hard to embrace a culture of saving. But, said, Ester Ochse, channel head at FNB Financial Advisory, the key to success is to save or invest for a goal, to give you the extra motivation.

“Savings Month is an ideal time to start exploring suitable solutions when banks and other financial service providers will be showcasing their savings and investment vehicles which will help you select a solution that is ideal for your needs.”

Ms Ochse suggests you choose a goal you want to save or invest for; think long-term, to allow your savings or investment portfolio to mature; decide how much you can afford to save; consider speaking to a financial adviser for guidance and set targets to evaluate your pro-gress. Having a goal will help you focus and serve as encouragement.

Ms Ochse said education and retirement are some of the major goals. However, people also instill a savings culture within their families, especially among children, she said.

“One of the major incentives at the mo-ment is that there are investment or savings vehicles where people pay little or no tax until their investment reaches a certain stage of maturity. It’s important to take advantage of these vehicles because South Africans are among the most taxed in the world

“When you prepare your savings or investment plan, you should align it with your financial situation so you do not over extend yourself that you have to stop saving or investing. If you do not know how to get started, it is always worth consulting a financial adviser, to give you realistic guidance,” Ms Ochse said.