Consumer commission warns people against buying from Manicaa
It claims to be one of South Africa’s best and leading e-commerce companies, offering you the ‘best quality items as per your needs to fulfill (sic)’. But the National Consumer Commission thinks not: It’s convinced Manicaa is a scam posing as an online business. About a thousand Hello Peter reviewers seem to think so too.
‘I placed an order … and made payment on 13 June 2022. Received a mail to say my order will take 21-30 business days. My order never arrived. I have tried contacting them via email, but an automated response of your order will take 21-30 business days. Tried calling and nothing! Just business hours. I do not believe they are legit. After complaining on social media, I was promised on 12 August 2022 a refund. Well, until today, I have not received the promised product nor the refund. STAY AWAY FROM THEM.”
“We ordered an item for our portable aircon so that it could be used effectively in February. We ordered early February, but it took 30 days or so to arrive, by which time our hottest month was over. Maybe we can use the part next year……. :-(”
“I finally received the product that I ordered, which was very well priced. Promised delivery was 10 to 25 days, but it took 67 days. Communication was difficult – they don’t answer their phone or reply to emails. I will not order from them again.”
The National Consumer Commission said it had received several complaints from consumers claiming that they had purchased from Manicaa, but did not receive the goods.
Many customers said they had received incorrect items, incomplete orders or defective goods, with no assistance from the supplier. After following up on the complaints, the National Consumer Commission (NCC) said Manicaa was untraceable.
Business Maverick also tried to contact the site: an automated message response from the “support team” acknowledged receipt, saying that a ticket had been created:
“A support representative will be reviewing your request and will send you a personal response (usually within 48 hours).
“However, due to significant volumes of calls and emails, it is currently taking longer than the published 48 working hours to respond to emails. We apologise for any inconvenience.”
A further alarm bell: The phone number (which has a Johannesburg area code) appears to be a private number.
Manicaa purports to sell kitchen appliances and electronics, perfumes, clothing and shoes, baby products, toys and clothes, car parts and so on.
Acting NCC Commissioner Thezi Mabuza says Manicaa’s conduct is not in the spirit of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA).
“Manicaa’s modus operandi is to offer to sell these items, receive the money and not deliver those goods. The CPA requires that a supplier of goods delivers those goods to a consumer, on the agreed date and place,” said Mabuza.
Manicaa claims to be operating from Midrand, but the website map on the “contact us” page suggests that it might be based in Canada (see map below).
The NCC said its preliminary findings indicated that Manicaa was a scam run by Webster and Clara Kutsawa.
“While the NCC’s investigation is ongoing, the commission advises consumers not to transact with Manicaa or these individuals. As e-commerce changes the way consumers transact, consumers are urged to exercise extra caution as online scams are on the rise.”
Before transacting online, it advises consumers to check reviews that are not on the store’s website and, if the price sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is too good to be true.
Some clear warning signs are those “five-star” reviews: “David”, Cyloria, Esther, George, “Beans” et al are all first-time reviewers – if they are even real people. BM/DM