Scam: Eskom denies knowing sales company

2014-04-11 00:00

ESKOM yesterday denied knowing the Durban direct marketing company United Thermal Technology. The power utility’s spokesperson, Andrew Et­zinger, said the company was not registered on Eskom’s solar water heater programme.

The Witness reported that the sales company has allegedly been using Eskom’s name and claiming to be a member of the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa (Sessa) to gain entry into people’s homes. They have been selling allegedly questionable energy-saving devices for R2 200 and water heaters for R15 000.

Etzinger said that Eskom does not endorse any third-party products. “We only test products that participate in specific promotions that we are involved in, such as the rebates programme.”

He warned homeowners not to allow solar water heating sales people into their homes who claim that they represent Eskom and Sessa without first verifying their identification. If they are unsure, they should call Eskom’s customer contact centre at 08600 37566 to check if there is any Eskom promotional programme occurring in their specific area.

Etzinger said that Eskom-contracted installers have Eskom identity cards with their photo and identity number on. “Customers should not let anyone into their homes unless they themselves had made the appointment with an Eskom person, or unless they have seen an advert giving details, dates, times, products and terms of conditions of the solar geyser project roll-out in their area,” he added.

He said homeowners who have taken up the allegedly fraudulent offer have been subjected to an alleged “bogus evaluation” of the energy usage of appliances in their homes, including electrical element geysers, to give sales people an opportunity to urge homeowners to replace their geysers with “solar water heating systems that are supplied exclusively by their company”.

The Witness reported several readers’ frustrations at being unable to return the devices within the five-day cooling off period allowed by the Consumer Act.

Readers said the company does not have a fax number nor an e-mail address, and when they called the numbers supplied, they are fobbed off.

The company had told The Witness that it believed the complaints were unfounded. However, complaints have also been posted on the consumer complaint website Hellopeter.

Steve Cook wrote that the company had sold him a line of water heaters “which do not work. A month-and-a-half of trying to get hold of these guys, and even visiting their premises in Moore Road [Che Guevara Road] … and still no joy. They pretend to represent the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa …” he said.

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