Friday, December 30, 2011

NOT SO MARVELLOUS MAIDS - how to chase away customers.

Not so Marvellous Maids.
With the regular maids service closed for December break, and two teenage boys in full “tidy” mode for the duration, we resolved to contract a once off char-lady to do some cleaning to keep the house safe for the parents. We contacted the local branch of Marvellous Maids and after paying R250 in advance made an appointment for a char-lady to spend the day at the house, to do general routine cleaning and some clothes steaming.

The char-lady arrived at 9h00, was shown the areas needing attention, and also informed that she should ask for anything she needed. As I was working in the study, she was also told that as soon as he was ready to clean the study I would move to facilitate her work. So far so, good, I then had to leave the house, and left the char-lady to continue her tasks. One of the boys was there with her, in case she needed any assistance with materials or directions to where anything required might be kept.
On our return later that afternoon, the char-lady had already left. As the service had been pre-paid we made a cursory inspection of the house, to ascertain that all was as expected. Despite my protracted absence the study had not been cleaned at all. Neither had the clothes steaming been completed, nor had any of the dustbins been cleared, annoying as this had been the motivation to contract the work out in the first place. As the service had been paid for in advance, there was no option but to contact the company and convey our dissatisfaction with the service. 

From the outset, the contact person at Marvellous Maids, a Mr Sipho Kunene was not only difficult to contact, he was defensive, and as the matter developed he became downright abusive. My initial contact with him, in which I conveyed my dissatisfaction, was answered with a mail that plainly informed me that I was the cause of the incomplete work, as he did not know that I had in fact not been in the study for most of the day.

He went on to offer me a 10% discount on the next visit, over which I had severe doubts as to whether I wanted it or not. When I rejected the offer and reminded him that the initial service had not been satisfactory and that he should address that issue first, he upped the offer to 25% discount on the next visit. He added: “our final offer is 25%. This offer is not in anyway an admission of guilt on our part but as a remedy to the situation as our valued customer. The fact of the matter is that the char lady in question tried her best to complete her duties but was hindered by circumstances beyond her control.”

When I wrote back and explained that all I wanted was to have the service properly rendered as contracted initially and that I saw that remedy as being a visit at no charge, Mr Kunene launched a tirade about underprivileged communities and that I was in fact trying to: “takes us back to the years we all do not want to think about.” The race card it seems is never too far out of reach. As to my stated intention to share my experiences with others on Mr Kunene had this to say: “I am sorry will only make us more popular than you thought. No Thanks”

My final communication to Mr Kunene was to state that all I required in terms of the Consumer Protection Act was to receive the service I had paid for but not received in full, his reply was: “I am sorry that I have to deny you this service. It constitutes Human Rights abuse.” Mr Kunene did not elaborate whose human rights were being abused in his opinion, in terms of not getting what I paid for, I would assert that my rights as a consumer had been abused. Clearly in exercising my consumer rights I had in his opinion wandered over to abuse someone’s human rights.
Marvellous Maids? I don’t think so.

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