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A Cautionary Tale with a Happy Ending

Swellengram (Food Edition) 2022

“My Daddy’s on the front cover”

Tourists reading the booklet at Under the Oaks Market.

It is a miracle that this booklet has actually come to be – but the challenges we were faced with along the way – a very poorly designer, an advertiser who let us down at the last minute, funerals to attend, transport issues etc etc – all paled into significance when the last hammer blow arrived.

We had stupidly joked that this issue was cursed. At one point – after the printer had received all the money and the VAT and was horrendously slow in delivering them, the joke was that they didn’t even exist.

Well, the joke was on us. They didn’t.

We had been using what we thought was a reputable printing company. we were in constant contact with them by phone and email. They provided many different excuses for non-delivery – including the courier came but we weren’t there (we were), the courier was killed in a fatal accident, the booklets were lost in the same accident, reprinting would have to wait until the current job was done.

And then it all went dead. The phone wasn’t answered. The emails were not responded to.

In desperation we searched for another email we could try to get a reponse to and found one.

And this was an extract from the response we got.

Good Morning

Thank you for using this email address to highlight the below. Unfortunately like several businesses and individuals over the last few month this is unfortunately not a fault of ours. 

Webprinters stopped using the .info domain a few years back and this specific email address is the only one we still have access to. During the early months of this year we started receiving complaints that a copy website had been setup by scammers. We have used several networks to inform people of our proper domain it appears several people have already fallen victim to these people.

  • The WebPrinter domain is https://webprinter.co.za
  • All payments on our website are via credit card
  • Our system requires that all clients register as an individual or business
  • All our deliveries are done within the specified timeframe and a tracking number provided for shipping

We have already opened an investigation into this with the SAPS and other victims and are currently investigating these scammers who use several numbers. The current total costs now exceed over R500000. Please urgently send through the following details: 

Amount Paid
– Bank account paid into
– Any contact details you might have.
– Your business details and representative who law enforcement can contact.

Simultaneously we were called by the police to find out more about our case

To be honest – we don’t even know whether we should trust this response… and was it even a real police call?

My faith in humanity and trusting nature took an absolute nose dive. I was physically sick. Business partner G got pains in his chest. We just looked at each other in horror and disbelief. So many hours, days, weeks of graft, so many people we were about to let down….

We called a new print company in Joburg THE PRINT BUREAU on the same day – Monday 23rd May and got a reasonable quote. I cashed in my pension and savings and we sent them the proof. Can you believe it on Friday 27th May, we had the booklets in our hands.

We have discussed whether we should go public with this story – partly because we feel so foolish to have been scammed and don’t want to look like the naïve idiots we undoubtedly were. But I think it is worth the humiliation for us to pass on a warning that such things can happen. We all know it in theory – but I had no idea how sophisticated these scammers can be.

The lesson has been learned, at some considerable cost. We are opening a case of our own, but we don’t hold out much hope.

The day after receiving the booklets we were distributing them in town. That evening I got an email that lifted my spirits so much.

Dear Amanda,

Thank you for handing out the latest Swellendam Guide today at the Under the Oaks Market.

Relaxing after a busy market morning with a glass of wine, I  read this amazing little booklet from beginning to end !

I must congratulate you and Graham, the Photographers and Writers for a beautifully presented publication. It is a pleasure to page through it and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated by Swellendamers and visitors alike.

Thank you and keep it up ‘Mummy Chicken’
 Gerda Mercorio

So – is it all worth it? Can we pick ourselves up and go for another one? Should we? Let us know….

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