Ezemvelo accused of ‘bait marketing’

2012-02-14 00:00

EZEMVELO KZN Wildlife refused free entry to loyalty card holders wanting to watch the Midmar Mile, frustrating Pietermaritzburg resident Ettienne Swart and others who had paid R495 for a year’s unlimited free daily entrance into any of Ezemvelo’s parks.

“There were no prior warnings given to card holders about this,” said Swart. “What it boils down to is false advertising.”

He said he was considering cancelling his card and wanted his weekend spending reimbursed.

Swart questioned whether people wanting to enter the Midmar Dam reserve to do things other than watch the Midmar Mile, such as fishing, would also have been disallowed from using their cards.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife CEO Bandile Mkhize was surprised by the complaint. “Members of the public who purchase a Rhino Gold Card know that this card will not gain them entry on special occasions, which include the Midmar Mile, musical events and New Year’s Eve celebrations.”

However, nowhere in the terms and conditions does it state that the use of the card is subject to special events. When pressed on the matter, Mkhize admitted that a list of special events does not exist.

Attorney Gareth Cremen, who specialises in consumer protection legislation, said that if prospective subscribers were led to believe that the card gave them unlimited access while it did not, it would amount to “bait marketing”.

Mkhize said: “People need to understand that this event happens once a year. They will not be expected to face these situations every day.”

He said a planning committee from Ezemvelo is in talks with the Midmar Mile event organisers to “find a way forward” on the use of Rhino Gold Cards.

Gold card holders who feel they were unfairly treated should e-mail their complaints tocustomercare@kznwildlife.com

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