Rusty gate leaves customer with headache

Heidi Bresler was determined that Maxidor would buy back her security gate five years after she paid R10 536.59 in 2014 to have it installed at her Monte Vista home.

She started complaining to Maxidor in 2017 when she first noticed the rust spots.

She booked a service and the agent did a site inspection in January that year.

Ms Bresler said the agent reported: “Door inspected on the site visit. Client phoned in February (2016) for service but nobody came back to her. The door is completely rusted on Flights A-style, strong flights. Door needs to be removed, flights changed, top tracks and bottom cleaned and well oiled. The door has a lot of rust all over, the rusted flights and components are the cause of the sticky door.”

She said she wrote on the client comment section that she was very disappointed and then followed up with Liesl, office administrator at Maxidor Epping in February 2017, who told her the parts had been ordered and she would get back to her.

“Liesl called me back and said the gate would be collected on February 16 and returned the same day.

“Early in February 2018, I again booked the annual service. The agent reported that the ‘door was reworked in 2017 for rust. Door shows rust again, small spots all over the door. Recommend reworking the door again, remove, degrease, respray. Recommend changing top and bottom track to aluminium. Door stiff at back, recommend cutting 10mm down. Rework door completely. 5 x top inserts to be replaced’,” Ms Bresler said.

She then spoke to Janine at Maxidor who said the parts were on order and she would call back about “the turn-around time”.

Ms Bresler made several follow-up calls. Eventually Liesl said she would send an urgent email to Johannesburg asking for the parts.

Later she told Ms Bresler that there was a problem getting the aluminium track. By then Ms Bresler, who also complained to head office, had had enough and on February 4 this year she told Liesl that not all rust had been removed, the top track was not changed to aluminium and the door is still sticky. “Please buy back the gate.”

The buy-back is valid for 10 years after installation and is not dependant on regular servicing.

Later Liesl said Ms Bresler’s concerns had been raised with her manager and she was waiting for his feedback. Needless to say there was nothing more from Maxidor.

“Any assistance you can provide would be appreciated.”

Jurie Botha, chief operations officer for Maxidor SA, said it was not the kind of service they aspire to. “I always say to our team, we are as good as our last customer’s experience, and while this was evidently not a good experience, we have taken the necessary action, and arrived at an amicable solution (with the client),” he said.

“Maxidor is a security barrier supplier and we operate in an environment where we see unspeakable acts of cruelty daily. We have dedicated teams that breathe security but it would be irresponsible of me to suggest that our or any other product can be breached. The components used ensure that home occupants and business owners have adequate time to react in the event of a criminal attack.

“The Cape Town team may have been slow in their reaction but the client had security in place, and that the product fulfilled its original purpose. I understand that the complaint was aesthetics driven and though the crime barriers are ‘formidable’ they should look good too. There are many factors that cause rust: location, accelerators such as chlorine and sprinkler systems, and atmospheric conditions,” Mr Botha said.

Galvanising does prolong the normal oxidisation process and the zinc in the galvanising process oxidises naturally as well. The zinc releases in the atmosphere leaving a white residue visible on the powder coating. The design of the product has precise spacings between moving parts, and during the hot dip galvanising application, the zinc deposits unevenly on a flat metal surface, hampering normal gate movement.

“The product is guaranteed against rust for five years – we have honoured our guarantee, by replacing it once before – and we have offered to replace it again. Ms Bresler has opted for a different remedy, to which we obliged,” Mr Botha said.

However, Ms Bresler said the gate has not been previously replaced.

“I was offered a new gate, which I declined. The reason being the galvanising issue. It is pointless for them to make a new gate if it’s not galvanised.” The Spanish burglar bars on her house show no signs of rust. “Clearly they are galvanised,” she said.

There is no reference to galvanising in Maxidor’s brochures but Ms Bresler believes the salesman should have told her. She could also have asked him.

Mr Botha said considering that the product served its purpose for five years (a barrier against crime) they felt that one third of the original purchase value would be adequate. However, looking at all the angles, “We settled on 2/3rds.We treat each case on its merits”.

It took a week or two but Ms Bresler said Maxidor deposited R7 024.40 in to her bank account which she will use to buy a galvanised gate.

Maxidor took away the old one.