PRETORIA – While hellopeter.com and even the group’s own Facebook page are littered with concerns and complaints from customers of the car ownership scheme where you could “drive a new car from R699 per month,” there are some people who are making big bucks.
Ever since Moneyweb reported on the car ownership model Just Group Africa, trading as Drive Car Sales in partnership with Hong Kong-Blue Lakes, which allows clients to own a vehicle from as little as R699 per month*, numerous emails have been received – either enquiring or complaining about the service.
There are complaints and concerns from clients about both offers provided by the company, under the leadership of CEO Albert Venter. The first offer is the ‘Earn while you Own’ option, which promises to give you money back by using the back of your car as a moveable billboard. If anyone uses the unique code on your car to SMS for information and buys a car, you get R3 000.
The other option, ‘Earn while you Drive,’ rewards drivers for driving a certain amount of kilometres per month.
Reader complaints range from struggling to upload photographs as proof of kilometres with the website being congested, not being able to contact Drive Car Sales and struggling to get queries resolved and knowing that their unique code was used, but not being paid the R3 000 as promised.
The flip side
At the same time there are others who have set up their own websites and are aggressively advertising their unique codes, raking in thousands per month.
Vladimir Dyulgerov has one of these websites. He even registered a company: Drive a NEW car TM PTY Ltd with registration number: 2013/013838/07. “Last month I earned nearly R70 000, the month before only about R12 000, the month before that R108 000… it goes on. I have had my car since November 2011,” he told Moneyweb in a telephone interview, adding that he has two other jobs.
Dyulgerov said that when people contact him, he is honest about the offer, telling interested parties that you will actually be paying the full installment per month – only being reimbursed (thus bringing down your installment) if you do everything by the book and advertise your unique code as much as you can. “People are naïve to believe that they will only be paying R499 from the start. They don’t ask the right questions and they don’t read the contract. It all has to do with marketing,” he says.
Still, there are complaints about the administrative capacity of the Satinsky Group. Four of the complaints received by Moneyweb are summarised below. On hellopeter.com the Satinsky Group, Just Group Africa and Drive Car Sales have 16 complaints in the last month and only one compliment.
Barnard Jooste from the Satinksy Group told Moneyweb that the group is investing heavily in IT infrastructure – R15m in just the 2011 financial year and currently about R500 000 per month to address any congestion problems and jack up their communications. As part of this drive the group has obtained new offices for its IT department that will house a larger number of Helpdesk agents.
Jooste sent a statement replying to questions from Moneyweb, which can be found here in full. Jooste also made an undertaking to reply to the four complainants personally to resolve the matters.
With regard to complaints about not receiving payments (whether for the Earn while you Drive or Earn while you Own option) Barnard stated that the company helps create websites free of charge for the latter option to help with the advertising. He also said that apart from the annual auditing process, the group also has a compliance officer, who inspects randomly picked transactions.
Unfortunately fraud was picked up once, but the employee was dismissed and the clients reimbursed, Barnard said. He did not want to divulge what percentage of the group’s profit is utilised for the R3 000 commissions, but said that it has been in business since April 2005 and that this was an indication of its success.
* The R499 option is not available anymore as the model that was offered is no longer available in South Africa.