Friday, September 8, 2017


Dear Consumers,
Andy van der Velde Aramex's
illusive CEO
          In my daughter Mandy’s experience the South African arm of Aramex, the international courier service, couldn’t be trusted to honour the refund undertaking it gave.
          This is also a tale of two CEO’s: one incredibly efficient and the other one, well you be the judge.
          In what it describes as a first for South Africa Aramex provides a store-to-door service at selected Pick n Pay branches nationwide.
          For R299 documents can be sent anywhere internationally.
          But as Mandy found out the staff didn’t know what their own requirements were when she tried to send a T-shirt to her brother-in-law in Australia.
          Earlier this year when he was in South Africa to compete in the Port Elizabeth Ironman, he ordered a commemorative T-shirt to be sent to Mandy’s Johannesburg address in the hope that it would arrive before he returned home. And when that didn’t happen she went to the Randridge Pick n Pay branch to courier it to him through Aramex.
          She used this Aramex service because on four previous occasions her daughter, who made tutus for kids, had successful sent samples to England without any hitches. She was given an international bag and told that because the T-shirt was so small (139g) it was acceptable. A member of the staff even helped her put it into the bag.
          It was sent, or so she thought, on 24 April 2017 and she paid the R299.
          “An entire month later there was a knock at our door in nearby Eagle Canyon,” she told me. “And there’s the courier with my parcel that was meant to be in Australia.  
          “I was told that as it wasn’t a document it couldn’t be sent. No one had contacted me via my email address on the package to tell me there was a problem. And they hadn’t made a special trip for me as they were evidently delivering something else a few houses away from ours.”
          Mandy asked a woman called Ayanda for her money back and was told this could not be given because it was Mandy’s fault. It was made clear to her on the bag the item was sent in that it was only for documents.
          When I tried to complain to Andy van der Velde, the CEO of Amarex South Africa, all I could get on the phone was an email address for his PA Andi Ungerer.  She evidently doesn’t bother him with complaints like mine, because without any explanation I got a reply from Tsholofelo Mosala to my email, addressed to him. She is described as the National Corporate Social Media Executive.
Was he perhaps on another adventure like
this when I was trying to contact him?
          She began by apologising for the “inconvenience cause by both Pick n Pay and Aramex staff,” as this was not “how we do business.” She went on to blame Pick n Pay’s store manager for not properly training the ladies who helped my daughter “hence they gave incorrect information to Mandy.”
          Her blame game did not end there. She repeated that it was actually Mandy’s fault because the leaflet on the sleeve states the service is only for documents. “The onus is on the user of a service to familiarise themselves with the terms and conditions when entering into a legal agreement with a service provider,” she added.
And Mandy had signed a document confirming she had read these.
          She conceded however that Mandy had trusted people who supposedly had a better understand of the service than she did.  
          Ayanda, she went on, had left their company so they could not get her side of the story but their policy was that “prior to returning a parcel, we make contact with the sender to advise of the outstanding requirements” and if they don’t get this information the sender “will be advised again that the parcel will be returned to them.”
          Nothing like this was done in Mandy’s case.
          Mosala asked for details of the tutus samples sent by Mandy’s daughter, but as this was some time ago Mandy no longer had any record of these.
          Her firm’s project manager would be asked to visit this Pick n Pay store to ensure that its manager was training their staff sufficiently to deal with the Amarex customers correctly.
          “As a gesture of goodwill, and a once off because of the individuality of this case, we would like to refund Mandy,” she stated.
          But instated of telling me that Mandy could go to the branch and collect the money she made it as difficult as possible for her by saying, “If she can please provide us with the letter from the bank confirming her affiliation with the bank and her bank account, we will have this processed and resolved.”
          Mandy then had to go to her bank personally to get this unnecessary letter which cost her another R21.50.
This is how my email conversation continued:
4 August
I sent Mosala the letter and Mandy’s bank details. She replied the same day saying she had sent it to their accounts team with this rider that showed that payment would not be at all quick. “Refunds take 7-14 working days to be processed.”
25 August
I told her 16 working days had now elapsed since she said payment would be made and nothing had come through. The same day she undertook to “inquire with accounts and await their feedback.”
2 September
Is my daughter ever going to get the money? I asked her. This is getting beyond a joke. You keep saying you are going to find out about it and what happens – absolutely nothing. Your 7-14 days must be the longest ones in history. It’s a terrible advertisement for Aramex.
P.S. I presume the R21.50 she had to pay for that bank letter will be added to the refund.
5 September
She apologised for not responding earlier and once again told me she had contacted the accounts team, but she was unable to say when this would be resolved or what was causing the delay.
Referring to this email I attempted to contact the CEO Van der Velde once again through his PA’s address. I told him it was deplorable that Mosala was still unable to find out when his firm was going to pay this “piddling amount.” In keeping with his record up to that stage he never responded.
6 September
In desperation I sent an email directly to Richard Brasher, Pick n Pay’s CEO asking if he could get somebody to sort this out as I was getting nowhere with Amarex. I included my first email to Van der Velde and Mosala’s initial reply.
7 September
Mosala sends me proof that R320.50 has been paid into my daughter’s bank account. This is a world record for a 7-14 working day delivery. It actually took 25 days.
It needed two different people to approve payment of this small amount. Hopefully Amarex’s creditors don’t have this much trouble getting paid.
Below is my email conversation with Brasher. Note how quickly he replied.

That’s what you call a very special CEO – somebody who is not only prepared to deal with big business in a 770 store empire, but who still has time to help solve a customer’s problem.
Richard Brasher
Andy van der Velde, if you are anywhere around, please read how a CEO should be promoting his company’s image.
                           After this post appeared Andy sent me this

Last word from Mandy: “Thanks to PNP Aramex delivered on its promise. I will of course return to PNP, but as for Aramex that ship has sailed.”
Jon, a Consumer Watchdog of longstanding.

P.S. A very ugly snarl to Andy van der Velde. He is also a teacher on the social video learning platform Learn It Live that powers online education around the world. But perhaps he should brush up on his customer relations at home first.


  1. Good day, any chance that you can assist me with Andy's email? I am at a loss with a stolen/lost shipment.

  2. If you see this contact me at

  3. Hi, Also looking for Andy's email or contact number

  4. I've been waiting for refund for goods hijacked during transit for 3 months. Every second day I send a chaser email.