Internet sites are a breeding ground for 'e-Con Artists'
Author: Thuli Zungu - Article orginally published in the Sowetan on 16/07/13
Pet lover Alec Mandevu learnt the hard way about the dangers of buying goods over the internet.
He was cheated out of R8 500 after buying a Rottweiler puppy from a Bloemfontein-based breeder. Internet sites selling various commodities, including pets, have become a fertile breeding ground for “e-con artists”, so prospective buyers are warned to be careful when browsing.
Mandevu, of Francistown in Botswana, was excited about his new arrival after spotting pictures of the puppy on the pet seller’s website. The website has since been removed. Mandevu told Sowetan he had already bought a male Rottweiler puppy from a registered breeder in Polokwane, and was looking for a companion for his puppy. He said he was surfing the internet looking for Rottweiler puppies for sale when he came across Max Napster’s “gorgeous pure-bred” female Rottweiler, that was selling for R1 900.
“The seller promised to arrange for an air courier service to send it to me in Francistown for R3 200, which was supposed to have included transport costs, that I found quite reasonable” Mandevu said. This amount was paid to a Marius Merime Noukeu Tchouffac.
Mandevu was told that the puppy would be vaccinated and provided with a veterinary import permit. But a few days before the puppy was due to arrive, Mandevu received a telephone call from Morgan Morris Animal Airways International, supposedly a Bloemfontein-based courier company, that informed Mandevu that the puppy needed insurance cover of R4 000. Mandevu had baulked at the “excessive amount” but Morris has assured him that the amount was refundable on delivery. “The puppy seller had also called me and offered to pay half on condition I also pay half” Mandevu said.
He then paid R4 000 into the bank account of Ndoemaghaa Leonel Ndefru III. “On September 24 the day the courier company had promised to deliver the puppy, I received a request for an additional R1 000 for the puppy’s lodging that the courier company”. Mandevu only became suspicious when his calls to their cell phones and e-mails went unanswered. Sowetan has tried for the past six weeks to get comment from the seller and the couriers, without luck. They have ignored voice messages and our e-mail enquiries.
“I have learnt the hard way and will not repeat this mistake” Mandevu said.