Customer gets that ‘zincing’ feeling

Anthony Daniels says Build it in Mitchell’s Plain, and Aveng Trident Steel (AVTS), treated him badly, when they refused to pay a contractor for refitting the roof on the carport, he built at his Rocklands home.

But the Consumer Goods Ombud (CGSO) and consumer lawyer Trudie Broekmann of Trudie Broekmann Attorneys in the Bo-Kaap, said the suppliers adhered to the CPA, which does not cover collateral damage.

The matter has been dragging on since February.

Mr Daniels said soon after the contractor put up the carport in April , the Aluzinc started to rust, even though it was galvanised.

Build it salesman Nathan assured Mr Daniels that the “sheeting was the best they had in store”. So he bought it.

“I paid R12 157 for 16 sheets and at the house, the contractor, who was with me when I bought the sheets, cut them to size ‘using a grinder with a diamond blade’. When I sent pictures and an email complaining about the rust to Nathan, he arranged for Chantal and Thurston of AVTS to inspect the carport on April 20 while I was at work. Thurston told me what happened and reported their findings to Najoema who promised to arrange a meeting with the Build it owner, which didn’t materialise,” Mr Daniels said.

The AVTS employees said the contractor hadn’t used a diamond blade and the sparks during the cutting caused the burns and spots. The contractor (according to Mr Daniels) was infuriated by their allegations because he said he has been putting up carports for years and has never seen rust appear on a structure so soon.

AVTS sales manager Marcel Koen said the material is Aluzinc which is superior to galvanised roofing. “I have been in the roofing industry for 21 years and the ‘rust speckles’ are the result of grinder filings. Mr Daniels should clean the roof with a soft brush and a mild detergent and if it doesn’t work we will look at replacing the sheets and fasteners as a goodwill gesture. Since our initial inspection this is the first time we have had any feedback. We are always approachable,” Mr Koen said. That’s because Mr Daniels refused to talk to Nadeem Ismail of Build it or Mr Koen, and wanted me as the intermediary.

Mr Daniels tried the soap and detergent but it didn’t work.

Mr Daniels said he didn’t know about the site meeting but his wife called him on April 30 to say the supplier was on the way. “Thurston told me what caused the rust. But otherwise nobody from Build it called me,” Mr Daniels said.

Mr Koen said Trident will supply the replacement sheets and he would liaise with Build it owner Nadeem Ismail.

“As soon as we were made aware of the problem we logged a call with the supplier and they arranged to hold a site inspection to assess the damage. We were also waiting for a reply from AVTS who holds the guarantee.

“My manager did call Mr Daniels who refused to speak to him and said ‘we should communicate through you’.

“The problem would have been resolved much quicker if we had been able to speak directly to Mr Daniels who is welcome to email the correct size and quantity of the sheeting he requires and we will deliver it,” Mr Ismail said.

Build it delivered the sheeting, in line with the provisions of the CPA. However, Mr Daniels demanded that Build it or AVT pay the contractor R2 000 for fitting the sheets again. So it was stalemate.

When I asked Mr Daniels for a progress report on September 2 he confirmed that the sheets had been delivered a while ago but he was waiting to hear who was going to pay the contractor. “I am really getting a raw deal,” he said.

I told Mr Daniels that the CGSO and Ms Broekmann advised him to return the sheets as AVTS and Build it acted by the book. The CGSO said the CPA did not cover collateral damage and Ms Broekmann said the contractor may have caused the damage. However, Mr Daniels would have to prove it, and claim the costs from him.

Mr Daniels still refused to return the sheets. Although he said he didn’t have money to pay the contractor again, he did find the funds to consult his lawyer who confirmed what the CPA said.

Build it collected the sheets and the contractor completed the job. “At my expense,” Mr Daniels said.

Still not satisfied, he said AVTS didn’t supply the fasteners (R229.20) as they promised. Mr Daniels also complained that he is out of pocket by R757.20, not to mention the contractor’s fee. The replacements sheets were 2.5 metres not the 3 metres he ordered. That’s easily explained.

Mr Ismail said they were factory cut to size. If Mr Daniels negotiates with Mr Ismail I’m sure he’ll give him the off-cuts. The sheets show no sign of rust so perhaps it was the contractor that did the damage.

“I drive a hard bargain,” Mr Daniels said. But I think he’s being unreasonable.

Build It and AVTS went out of their way to help the customer when they were not responsible for the damage.

As Mr Koen pointed out, in the 20 years he has been in the industry he has never seen a defect in Aluzinc, which Wikipedia said tends to have a longer life expectancy without too much maintenance. An internet search shows that Aluzinc has been approved by the SABS and conforms to ISO requirements. One website gave a too technical explanation of how poor quality fasteners could cause it to corrode.

Mr Daniels said, “he was exposed to the most horrific sales experience ever”, and was “sold sub-standard material”.