Customer demands R250 000 from Shoprite

By Jessica Anne Wood

A Shoprite shopper has reportedly demanded R250, 000 from the store after his wife was injured due to a product purchased at Shoprite.

Clifford van Heerden, the shopper in question, explained the situation on his Facebook page: “My campaign against Shoprite for importing and selling untested products has officially begun. They were given until 12h00 on 11.3.2016 to give a response to stop bullying us and deal with this matter which has been caused by their negligently selling an untested flask, made to hold boiling water, which they imported from China and endorsed it by clearly labelling it as imported by themselves and distributed by themselves. The flask burst shortly after filling it with boiling water causing almost 2 litres of boiling water to shower down on Patricia (his wife). They (Shoprite) have responded with total arrogance and trying to bully us.”

The case

Times Live has reported that the shopper, Clifford van Heerden and his wife Patricia van Heerden have demanded that the Shoprite Group pay-out R250, 000 to the couple. According to the report, Mrs van Heerden is in need of plastic surgery due to the burns she sustained from the boiling water. Mr van Heerden is currently unemployed and the couple do not have medical aid to help cover the costs of the surgery.

Justmoney contacted Shoprite for comment. A spokesperson for Shoprite stated: “On receipt of Mr Van Heerden's complaint and claim after the incident occurred in October 2015, we launched a full investigation, which included thorough forensic testing, and found that the flask is not defective, but that customers may be using it incorrectly. (Please note that the day of the accident was not the first time Mr Van Heerden used this flask.)

“Based on this conclusion we decided to remove the Travelvac from our shelves in order to amend the Care Instructions for our flasks to also include a point about its assembly. A label to this effect is being fixed to the product before remerchandised and all new consignments will be accompanied with the new Care Instruction leaflet.”

The Shoprite spokesperson noted: “With regard to Mr Van Heerden's claim we are currently at a loss as to how to move forward. We have had numerous telephonic discussions and email exchanges with him in which we requested the necessary documents to substantiate the claim. There is an official process to follow to allow us to assess claims but Mr Van Heerden's refusal to co-operate is delaying the conclusion thereof, and probable treatment needed by Mrs Van Heerden.

“Shoprite's request for Mrs Van Heerden to attend a consultation with our appointed plastic surgeon, at Shoprite's cost, is to enable us to receive an independent medico-legal report, which is needed to process the claim. We do not require a doctor of our choice to treat Mrs Van Heerden and she is free to consult a doctor of her own choosing for this purpose,” added Shoprite.

Shoprite highlighted that “there is no testing standard for vacuum flasks in South Africa and in terms of warnings we consult British Standards to guide us, however British Standards do not refer to the assembling of flasks either.

Justmoney contacted Mr van Heerden via Facebook, but he had not responded at the time of publication.

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