Residents speak out against upholsterer scam

An Amarosa resident, Suzy Viegas, showing the invoice for the R700 she paid to Sharon Rossouw/ Burmeister for upholstery services. Photo: Siso Naile.

A suspicious upholstery business has been thrust into the spotlight following complaints from West Rand residents who have apparently fallen victim to the alleged scam. The victims cried foul after they allegedly lost both their money and their furniture to a businesswoman operating an upholstery business on the West Rand.

One victim, who reported the matter to the Caxton offices, went as far as opening a case against the woman since her demand for a refund and the return of her furniture seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.

Suzy Viegas from Amarosa claimed that she met the upholsterer, Sharon Rossouw/ Burmeister on 27 February at a hairdresser in Strubens Valley and acquired her services since her quotes were fairly cheap. “I approached her because I needed my furniture to be re-upholstered. She volunteered to follow me home to evaluate the work and gave me a quotation,” she said.

As the quotation was unbelievably affordable, Suzy said she decided to pay the full amount as a gesture of goodwill; however, the tables turned when Rossouw/ Burmeister failed to deliver the upholstered furniture on the agreed upon dates. “She kept on giving me poor excuses and empty promises,” said Suzy.

When Suzy started connecting the dots about her ‘service provider’, she took to HelloPeter.com where she allegedly found hordes of complaints, and began to believe she’d been scammed. This drove her to open a case at the Roodepoort Police Station which was transferred to Honeydew Police Station for further investigation.

“Lots of people were complaining about the exact same person – being conned to pay for services that are never rendered plus the furniture being taken.”

“She has been using the same modus operandi for a long time, and her excuses for failing to return the items are either that her son is very sick, or she’s ill, or that her ex-husband had died,” Suzy explained.

These allegations were backed by Debby Marx, another victimised client, who said that she fell for the excuses and even broke down when she listened to the sad stories. “She tells terrible lies – she even got me crying,” said Debby, who allegedly lost her payment for the refurbishment of her wing bed.

Another complainant, Isaac Lentswetshipi, said he had to get an escort from the Krugersdorp Police to fetch his new car which he had booked in for leather seats to be installed. “It was last year, between July and August, when I found this lady on the internet. She gave me a genuine price of about R7 000 to R8 000 for leather seats of my choice, which was cheaper than other places. I gave her the design and left the car with her, but two weeks later she was not done and told me to be patient because my car was new. A week later I lost patience and demanded my car. I went with the police to the property in Krugersdorp at which I had left my car, but it wasn’t there. I later found out the vehicle was in Randfontein. When I got there, the vehicle had no seats at all, and I demanded that they be returned by a man to whom I said the seats had been incorrectly done. I paid him R1 500 and kept the rest of the money,” Isaac recalled.

Our journalist spoke to the upholsterer from Randfontein who is believed to be working with Rossouw/ Burmeister. Charles Motloung, the designer, denied any business doings with Rossouw/ Burmeister, saying instead that she brought furniture to him and paid him to upholster it. This led us to believe that Rossouw/ Burmeister was outsourcing her work and was simply just a middleman. She was also accused of approaching clients with different company names.

In an interview with Rossouw/ Burmeister, we asked about her company name. She said her company was called All in One Upholstery. When asked about another business name, i.e. Exquisite Upholstery, she firmly said that was the company’s trading name.

Rossouw/ Burmeister denied all the allegations levelled at her, and blamed her clients, saying that they failed to pay for their furniture. “I did not steal anything,” she stated.

She continued, saying, “I’ve been behind with my work because I’ve been sick and away in Zimbabwe. This is not a police matter; anyone with a problem must email me or go to the Small Claims Court. I warned them about leaving their furniture [here indefinitely], I can’t hold on to stuff for six months.”

Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at  [email protected] (remember to include your contact details) or phone us on 011 955 1130.

For free daily local news on the West Rand, also visit our sister newspaper websites 

Randfontein Herald

Roodepoort Record

Get It Joburg West Magazine

Remember to visit our FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages to let your voice be heard!

  AUTHOR
Siso Naile
Journalist

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