Rory Rochat ordereda Sol+Guard GeoBubble pool cover and a Mercury Rollup Station for his Trovato home on October 26 last year from Power Plastics.
Mr Rochat paid R8 056.36 when he placed the order and another R5 370.90 on November 23 when the pool cover was installed.
“However, when the pool cover was installed, the Power Plastics representatives discovered that the rollup station was the wrong size. They took it away and said that it would be cut to the correct size and delivered the following day. But this did not happen,” Mr Rochat said.
On December 6, his wife emailed Caryn Formby, a director of Power Plastics, who said she would attend to the matter the following day as she was at her mother’s 80th birthday.
But she didn’t and the Rochats did not hear from her or her staff again.
Mr Rochat sent Ms Formby a reminder on December 14.
“She acknowledged it and stated it was ‘not yet sorted’ but took no further action”.
“I spoke to the factory manager at Power Plastics in Ottery and he promised to finish the job on December 16 or 17 as they were closing the factory. He never arrived. On February 17 (2017) I spoke to another manager, Chantel, who undertook to investigate and call me back. She didn’t,” said Mr Rochat.
On February 21, Leroy said he would collect the cover, which was missing an edge so it could be used with the rollup station. He promised to call back to arrange for collection, but he didn’t.
Mr Rochat spoke to Ms Formby after getting no satisfaction from her staff.
She reportedly took offence when Mr Rochat described their customer service as shocking and told him that each pool cover is unique and requires specialist attention. But no one from Power Plastics contacted them again.
“We have ordered and paid for a product that is only partially complete,” the Rochats said.
“Despite numerous attempts to get action from Power Plastics, we still have not made any progress. They have not kept any of their promises and it seems they have no plan to give us what we’ve paid for.”
So what did Power Plastics have to say?
Ms Formby said when Cape Town introduced Level 3 water restrictions without warning, turnaround times of suppliers of water-saving products were affected.
“The restrictions created an unprecedented demand for pool covers and we have done our best to maintain good communication with our customers but this was not always possible due to the sheer scale of demand. Customer emotions ran high but where we could not provide instant feedback to customers, delay notices were placed on our website and social media platforms, and we also went on radio to explain the issues,” she said.
“Primarily, orders that have been delayed are those with rollup stations such as Mr Rochat’s. This was due to an issue we had with an external supplier coupled with the December holiday shutdown and beyond our control.
“It is not an acceptable delay but all we ask for is understanding from customers and for them to know we are doing everything we can to rectify the issue,” Ms Formby said.
Mr Rochat’s rollup station was finally delivered on Friday March 31, at 5pm, almost six months after it was paid for. Which is a long time in anyone’s language.
“Thank you for championing our complaint as we honestly believe that without your intervention we would still be waiting for a response,” Mr Rochat said.
Ms Formby said customers should deal only with their allocated sales person as this streamlines the process.
“Dozens of enquiries made to different people about one order hinders rather than helps.
“It is not always possible to deal with the head of the company and, even if customers do, directors will refer to the staff member handling the issue.
“They know the real-time order status, not the directors. One can’t expect the CEO of MTN to personally fix a broken phone.
“We have a large team and all Power Plastics pool covers staff are trained and equipped to handle all queries. Escalating it in this case couldn’t change the issue at hand,” Ms Formby said.
“When the Rochats escalated the matter they overstepped the boundaries by making direct comments about our director’s personal life on a public forum. As Ms Rochat does know our director through a separate business network, she tried to assist them personally despite this not being the recommended channel. Highlighting details of her personal life was inappropriate and certainly not a constructive way to seek resolution. This was definitely not polite. Customers can fight the brand but don’t assassinate those who are trying to help in unusual circumstances.”
Ms Formby agreed that it has been a long drawn-out process and the Rochats were within their rights to complain.
There was a lot more spin, to put it mildly: about what a great company Power Plastics is, and how they have put measures in place to prevent other customers experiencing the same service as the Rochats.
“We hope that they can see the bigger picture here and consider how much water we have single-handedly saved the City of Cape Town through the vast number of pools we have covered in the last four months,” Ms Formby said.