Customers duped of thousands of rands in alleged Durban home improvement scam
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Durban - Some customers of a Durban-based high-end interior design company, North Coast Interiors, have lodged criminal charges and accused the company of being “scam artists“ for collecting cash but not delivering on their promises.
Customers of North Coast Interiors shared their complaints with Sunday Tribune, including some who have lodged charges against the owner, Keethan Singh.
The dissatisfied customers said they paid more than R50 000 each, as deposits, but the required work was allegedly not completed.
There were those who made down payments in July, but their pleas to Singh for refunds, on several occasions, were ignored.
Vigeon Govender, a customer from Bluff, said he paid a R50 000 deposit for ceiling renovations and floor work in October.
But Singh’s company allegedly did 10% of the work and never came back, according to Govender.
On Singh’s Facebook page, which has since been taken down, pictures show he and his family lived in the lap of luxury, with fancy cars and a home on a luxury estate in Ballito, were posted, Govender noticed.
Govender opened a case in March and the matter was expected to be back in court this week.
Captain Nqobile Gwala, the SAPS’ spokesperson, confirmed that a case of fraud was under investigation.
“It is alleged by the complainant that on March 16, he was defrauded by the suspect.
“He paid money to the suspect, but the suspect disappeared with the money.
“A 24-year-old suspect was placed under arrest for fraud.
“He last appeared before the Wentworth Magistrate’s Court on April 14,” said Gwala.
A police source said five cases have already been opened against the business owner, and other complainants were expected to come forward.
Another victim was a Pinetown resident, who asked not to be named.
She paid a R52 000 deposit in January after receiving a R90 000 quote from Singh to install a new kitchen, including electrical appliances.
She said Singh removed her old kitchen scheme and demolished some walls in preparation for the new kitchen.
All she has received since were flimsy excuses for “no shows” at the site, in complete disregard for the already agreed upon delivery timelines and project goals.
“The conduct and attitude of Mr Keethan Singh towards me has been highly unacceptable.
“As a client, I had to contend with a lot of lies and a lack of transparency.
“I believe his excuses and no shows were tantamount to the meticulous extortion of money from genuine clients.
“He takes the money for a deposit, pretends to be committed to the project goals, and starts minor works in earnest.
“He then makes excuses until he completely stops visiting the site, and leaves clients in a worse state than before.
“He has done this to me and there is a host of online reviews which state the same,” she said.
When approached for comment, Singh admitted that he owned the business but dropped the call and switched off his phone when the Sunday Tribune questioned him further.