Sefalana Accused of Lack of Customer Care

In yet another classical case of entrenched lack of customer care among Namibian retailers, a construction business owner had to go to extreme lengths to exchange over 30 spoilt maize meal bags he bought from a Katima Mulilo retailer.

Ronaldo Sangonya Pedro, who is involved in construction work at Kongola – some 110 kilometres west of Katima Mulilo, endured more than a one week without getting any help from a local food retailer, Sefalana, after he discovered 35 maize meal bags he had bought for his workers from that shop were spoilt and unfit for human consumption.

“I bought 35 bags of maize meal from Sefalana in Katima on March 7 for my workers at Kongola. The bags were properly kept for about two weeks because the previous bags had not yet finished. When it was time to use the new bags, we discovered that the maize meal was rotten,” Pedro narrated to this reporter.

After this discovery, he decided to return the maize meal since he still had proof of purchase but shockingly he was met with disdain, as the store manager refused to accept the goods saying Pedro should have returned the spoilt maize meal on the same day that he made the purchase.

“We put the bags in the storeroom because my workers already had food. When I brought back the bags I was told the store cannot accept it (mealie-meal) and said I should have brought the bags back on the same day. I explained to them that I kept it because my workers had food but still they refused,” lamented a clearly disappointed Pedro.

Pedro, who approached different offices in search of help, hit a brick wall as he was sent from pillar to post. “When they told me to go wherever I wanted to go, I went to customs and they told me that the lifespan of maize meal bags is six months to one year. Even the quality controller at Namib Mills confirmed this. I then went to the ministry of trade who referred me to Namibia consumption commission,” narrated Pedro.

He accused health inspectors from Katima Mulilo Town Council of ineptitude for failing to take the store to task despite the matter being reported to them. “The health inspectors from town council were there in the store but could not do anything,” moaned Pedro.

According to Pedro, it was only after he threatened to go to the media that he suddenly received a call informing him to return the spoilt maize meal bags.

“A certain manager called me this morning (March 30) to tell me to return the bags and get new ones,” said Pedro.

Several attempts to get comment from the store manager at Sefalana, identified only as James, proved futile as his phone rang unanswered.

The Katima Mulilo Town Council health inspector was also unavailable for comment.

Lack of customer care, a national challenge, seems to have equally permeated Katima Mulilo. Often businesspeople are accused of mistreating customers while amassing thousands of dollars from them with non-existent social responsibilities initiatives.

Source : New Era