Letters

Dear Editor



Frame and King

Apart from Frame (nose45), Mervyn King was also a director of Fedsure at the time of its collapse. The board included a representative of Investec and one of Econometrix. It was these names that persuaded many of us to hang on to Fedsure’s shares to the bitter – very bitter – end.
Nobody has yet explained just what caused Fedsure’s collapse or what its directors were doing (other, perhaps, than comparing notes on corporate governance) while the company was self-destructing. Material for a noseweek inquiry?
Ray Flanagan
George

See Frame Affair: Part 2 on page 6; and Bruce Sanders’ letter on page 28.


Misunderstood

So if it was Santana that sang “Please don’t let me be misunderstood” (editorial, nose45), then it must have been Eric Burdon and the Animals who sang “Black Magic Woman”.
Bruce MacDonald
Rondebosch

OK, so our music history isn’t as good as our investigative journalism. Who’s perfect? – Ed.


Patently silly

This will be the last time I renew my subscription if you persist in your silly and unjustified criticism of intellectual property practitioners.
I A Freimond
Patent Attorney, Randburg

The minute the practitioners stop being silly, we’ll stop. – Ed.


Travel insurance

After your gripe about Europ Assist (nose45) here’s a good news story. My company offers travel insurance. A few years ago we switched to AIG (American Insurance Group). Our first sale was to a man who made all his own arrangements when his wife took ill in the middle of their holiday. After his return he came to see if we could get him a refund on his cancelled accommodation.
“Do tell,” said I, “how were you treated by our new insurance company?”
“What insurance company?” he asked. He’d forgotten he’d paid a large sum for travel insurance!
Everybody knows the rules: You must claim from the other side. I thought I’d give it a try anyway and phoned AIG in Cape Town. Within half an hour they had agreed to his claim for doctor, hospital, cancelled accommodation. Within a week we had his cheque.
Anne Hill
British TIPS, Tygervalley

Regarding the inoperative UK call number for Europ Assist (as alleged by Mr Lewis in nose45), other claimants are using our emergency telephone numbers regularly and all tests have established they are fully operational.
Europ Assistance uses the latest technology to log all telephone traffic and quality tests regarding advice and telephone etiquette are undertaken regularly. To date we have not come across any instance where a reverse charge call was refused by any call centre operators. Europ Assistance South Africa has received and accepted reverse charge calls for the past 15 years and currently receives an average of 10 daily, each of which is electronically logged. Internationally the Europ Assistance Group annually handles 33.5m calls and carries out 6.5m assistance actions.
Some time before publication of the noseweek article, Europ Assistance settled Mr Lewis’ medical expenses claim.
Let me also resolve the confusion regarding TIC and Europ Assistance’s roles. TIC is the owner of the travel insurance policy being sold by travel operators. Europ Assistance offers a 24-hour telephonic helpdesk in support of claims covered by this travel policy.
Alta Cornelissen
Manager, Marketing, Europ Assistance, Auckland Park


Cape-to-Rio storm

The reference to “Abromowitz’s Boating Partners” in your article on the Cape-to-Rio race sponsorship (“Close to the wind”, nose45) was most misleading.
I have never been a shareholder or director of Boating Partners (Pty) Ltd. I am a shareholder and director of SA Boats (Pty) Ltd, which is a joint venture between Boating Partners and my own yacht brokerage business – but this business markets South African boats internationally and has no connection to the Cape-to-Rio race.
Your article also made out that I enriched myself from the sponsorship that I had helped secure for the Rio race. I did not. Dr Plattner’s yachting manager, Dee Smith, is a close friend. Following a request by Bruce Parker-Forsythe, the MD of World Sports Group [who, together with Boating Partners had contracted to manage the event], I made a call to Dee to ask him to talk to Dr Plattner regarding an 11th-hour sponsorship of the Cape-to-Rio race to the extent of $150,000.
There was no discussion of a fee. Dee and I did this as a favour – and to ensure adequate media coverage of the event.
David Abromowitz
Cape Town

It’s a pity you did not say all this when you were first interviewed by our correspondent. We are happy to set the record straight. – Ed.


It’s a crime

What about the biggest white collar crime in the history of South Africa: Tigon, Porrit, et al? Come on, you guys, get onto the real crime!
Gordon Calmeyer
By email

What? So you too got greedy, ignored all the warnings and fell for the scam? – Ed.


Loud whale

A while back you reported on a controversy in the B&B industry (nose40&41), referring inter alia to a set-to between Portfolio of Places and Christiane von Ulmenstein, the owner of Whale Cottages, Hermanus.
You might like to know that my wife and I suffered badly at Ms Von Ulmenstein’s hands. I was due on a business visit to SA last November and decided also to have a fortnight’s holiday. I phoned Whale Cottages and specified that we wanted a view of the sea and privacy. I stressed privacy as we were badly in need of a quiet break.
I was told we would have the Lighthouse room at the new Whale Cottage and that it had its own patio area. We paid in advance.
When we arrived we were deeply upset to find that the room was indeed on a patio, which had lots of tables and chairs – because that’s where everyone had tea and breakfast!
It was like a public walkway. The side of the room facing the patio was all glass so the only way we could have had even minimum privacy was to keep the large glass door and curtains tightly shut. We refused to stay there.
We would not have dreamed of making a booking had we not been so misled.
We have been trying to recover the money we paid. I wrote to Cape Town Tourism Council but thus far have had only a bromide response. I am sure that this cannot be connected with the fact that Ms von Ulmenstein is vice-chair of the council.
Whale Cottages have offered a weekend at one of their cottages. I’ll probably have to sue.
Warmest good wishes to you for your muckraking. Great stuff.
Benjamin Pogrund
Jerusalem


Stannic

Regarding the fraud on the truck drivers (nose43&44). what do you suggest we, as consumers, should do regarding companies like Stannic?
Vic de Valdorf
Muizenberg

We are giving it some thought. What we suggest will depend on what Stannic itself does. – Ed.

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