We refer to AIG Attorney's - Whalley & Van Der Lith Inc - letter of 29 November 2018, ref Kyle Mills/ng/A0054/1069:
(Well done Spar SA on all your Christmas promotions throughout the country - all in an effort to get a greater market share and to draw customers in to your stores. Millions were spent on this marketing campaign!! Your various efforts were definitely commendable.)
Yet Spar fails to try and keep their trusted customer base. It is quite amazing how many people have heard my story - word of mouth! - and now tell me they won't go back to Spar. Keep it up Spar! Further, it is also quite amazing that friends send me messages joking about Spar samoosas and pies!
Spar can't even apologise for the hurt and pain this has caused us, or even push their Insurance company to clear this matter and threaten to take their business elsewhere.
Yet another Spar store owner offered me R50 000 (fifty thousand rand) in cash and said he would take it off his monthly payment to Spar head office, as he was upset at Spar's handling of this genuine matter. I declined. Other Spar outlets, who all know the story of Robindale Spar, say that on investigation by Spar head office, it was confirmed that the Robindale store owner was obtaining various supplies from non- standard suppliers (again I was the first person to advise Spar head office about Robindale's suppliers).
As a suggestion, Spar head office should have a budgeted fund available for matters of this nature, where their own Insurance Brokers and Insurance companies fail them. Sort out the customer and tackle the Insurance companies afterwards and out of the limelight - which Spar SA, Spar Robindale, Insurance Zone and AIG Insurance Company are about to face. (Always keep your customers satisfied.)
NB: During our first phone call and again the first time we came to your office we asked you, Mr Kyle Mills, who you represent? You said, your client is AIG Insurance Company, and due to this fact you represent Spar SA and InsuranceZone indirectly. So, your point 9 of your letter of 29 November 2018, is contradictory.
It is out of due respect to you, Mr Kyle Mills (attorney), my dwindling respect of Spar SA and no respect to AIG Insurance, that I have not gone to the media yet. So, Mr Mills, let this be the last of the correspondence and emphasise to your clients to bring finality to this matter and pay due respect to me and the final figure I have tabled please.
Your letter of 29 November 2018 - point 3 - refers:
I approached attorneys because all my attempts to meet with Spar's customer care representative, the insurance brokers and Insurance, to sit round a table and negotiate a settlement which they declined outright, even with Spar's insurance brokers, Insurance Zone, getting all the telephone recordings of the several complaints, including my complaint recording and that of a certain Mr Clements who had complained to Spar SA customer care line earlier the same day (5 May 2016) and the telephonist referred to me as Mr Clements, by saying, "Mr Clements you called earlier this morning. You don't have to call two or three times a day to make the same complaint." I responded by saying that I am not Mr Clements, I am Patrick Galbraith.
NB: I was the first person to advise Spar SA that the new franchise owner of Spar Robindale (from 1 March 2016) was obtaining various supplies from non¬ standard suppliers. After having gone to hospital I called Mike, the good's receiving manager at Spar Robindale, and asked who supplied their samoosas. He stated "from some Indian in Lenasia, Johannesburg" who obviously didn't worry about health control - hence the Ecoli bacteria that we were both infected with. Within 4 months - in July 2016 - this same Spar Robindale was featured in an ENCA Checkpoint TV programme facing complaints and we were advised on 14 November 2016 via WhatsApp by Mrs Lesley Pieterse of Spar SA that "we have completed the claim documents on Carlos Rodrigues behalf as SPAR DC was awarded bond perfection on Robindale SPAR beginning of November."
Why was Spar SA awarded bond perfection in 2016 in such a short time - 8 months?
VIP - It is compulsory in the United Kingdom, that any person affected by food as we have, must notify the health department immediately so that action can be taken.
My wife and I went to hospital to get better not to worry about reports which were furthest from our thoughts and that of the casualty doctor, Dr Monteith (whom I rate as the best casualty doctor in Johannesburg), who said, at a later date when we asked about the pathology tests, these tests are very expensive and his job is to make us better and that he never requests these tests (as noted in your point 6 of your letter of 29 November 2018).
We take umbrage to your wording and the insinuation thereof that we and Dr Monteith are being untruthful, by you stating "you have failed, refused and or neglected to provide" your offices with test results. We gave our full consent in writing to AIG and Spar to liaise with Dr Monteith and provided you a copy of the entire hospital file. AIG then didn't even bother to call Dr Monteith. Why not?
AIG refused meetings and were looking for points to avoid recognising this valid claim, to a point where even Insurance Zone (brokers) were upset where they wanted to present all the additional telephone recordings as suasive evidence to the food contamination - we were obviously the worst affected. NB: Not once has AIG been willing to settle or even to sit at a table and negotiate. (I requested Insurance Zone to save our recorded telephone calls for the record.)
Subsequently Spar SA advised us to no longer communicate with either AIG or Insurance Zone.
Spar SA then had their area representative, Mrs Lesley Pieterse, call us to advise that Spar SA will offer us about R7 000 (seven thousand rand) which was about our medical expenses only (which is not for our account but to be refunded to our medical aid, plus interest) and to sign our rights away with certain documentation being presented to us. We declined and Mrs Pieterse asked how much we wanted? (refer our email of 28 August 2018 - point 9).
How are we to know what is reasonable and as a result of this we had no other option but to seek legal assistance. Spar SA and their Insurance forced us to seek legal assistance - your point 4 of your letter of 29 November 2018. We at all times said we didn't want to go down this route feeling that Spar SA and their insurance would present us with a reasonable offer based on historical records.
We stated that at all times we have made all our documentation available at the request of anyone from Spar SA or any of their appointed representatives.
Point 4 of your letter of 29 November 2018
When we appointed our attorney, we were not to know she was pregnant and neither did she advise us - we only discovered this after she had left for 6 months maternity leave. By this time all that was established was that a reasonable claim would be R115 000 plus interest, which was presented to Spar SA and not once did our attorney present us with an offer in response. At our first meeting you stated that your file was very thin and showed us and then said you couldn't understand why the communication had stopped for months, and all that was in your file were your monthly correspondence updates to your client - so your point 4 is also questionable. All that was requested in your Mr Charl Odendaal's letter of 6 July 2017 to Mouyis Cohen, point 8, were again for bodily fluid reports and pathological tests as you again have requested in point 6 of your letter of 29 November 2018. NB there were no negotiations.
AIG and your contempt for our honesty or the severity of the entire matter, your point 6 of your letter of 29 November 2018, you at all times try and paint your client as the angels in this matter which they are not and who have gone out of their way to avoid debate or show willingness to resolve this matter, which is still the case. (AIG requested our written consent to speak to our doctors which was given and to date they have not contacted the doctors. Why not?)
This matter stagnated and on my attorney's return she was dismissed in February 2018 due to her incorrect explanations and advice and we have corresponded directly since and discussed settlements.
I felt very saddened by the method you employed in starting the negotiations - which at first I didn't realise what you were doing. The only good thing you did was to get the discussion off the ground. In your mail of 2 August 2018 you offered us R20 000 based on a 1980 court case, which you did not attach to your letter as you stated it was in point 4. You also stated that AIG won't cover our legal costs - had AIG sat down to talk to Insurance Zone - Spar's brokers, my wife and I there would be no legal costs.
(But this is exactly the way all insurance companies are working such as in current media broadcasts - Momentum - who quickly, within one (1) week resolved the claim and paid out the full quantum. Bear this in mind - this is your final chance!
This offer I declined and on 4 September 2018 you offered R27 500 which I thought was the start of negotiations, so I reduced my claim of R115 000 to R95 000 in your offices on 18 September 2018 when you advised your mandate was R30 000 which is where the offer is and should have started.
I felt very hurt that you were prepared to turn this into a process of an Egyptian market style negotiation instead of being honest, as you have at all times said your allegiance is to your client, AIG - by the same token my allegiance is to myself and my wife, who Spar Robindale nearly killed - is it a joke?
I have been very open and honest in all our dealings with this matter between Spar, Insurance Zone, AIG and yourselves. You, however, I feel have been nothing but devious. Please start to negotiate like honest gentlemen to finalise this matter. Your method reflected in the increments is nothing but shameful. Tell me the truth from the start - don't let me figure out your plan and your cunning methods. Put all the cards on the table - as we have done - and this matter will be finalised.
NB: To remind you what you, Mr Kyle Mills said: that in court my files must be open and you are entitled to all our documentation, therefore by the same token if you don't want to negotiate, I want all the telephone recordings from Spar's Customer Care centre and Insurance Zone and all the reports and documents to the awarding of bond perfection on Robindale Spar at the beginning of November 2016.
We gave you our memory stick to copy on to your laptop and then the balance of documents to photocopy which for the first time left our hands in your offices, and we have not looked at the documents since till recently when we wanted a certain important document and it is nowhere to be found. Fortunately it was saved in our cloud. We still have to now go through the entire file to see what else might be missing!!
The question now is, how do negotiations go - and you have no right to tell me to find another attorney - your Point 8 of your letter of 29 November 2018. An attorney is purely in it for themselves - so it will add more costs, just as I was pushed to do by Spar head office's representative, Mrs Lesley Pieterse, and then you say you won't pay my attorney's fees. (The reduction in value I have now tabled is far greater than the attorney's and medical costs combined.) So, more fees plus court - bigger settlement and more wasted time - which attorney will have to refer to me anyway. So, Mr Mills if you can't negotiate pass your file over to someone who can!
I have stated to you directly, "the truth is not defamation" and neither will anything I state be unsubstantiated either, just as you have now done in your point 6 of your letter of 29 November 2018, so before putting pen to paper please ensure your facts are justified and correct, failing which you will be taken to task in the appropriate forum and time and our rights are reserved.
Your point 8 of your letter of 29 November 2018: You note that you would like to finalise this matter. This is mutual.
So how do we finalise this - NEGOTIATE HONESTLY as follows:
We started at R115 000 You started at R20 000
In your office I went to R95 000 Now you go to R40 000
We go R85 000 You go R50 000
We go R75 000 You go R60 000
Final offer R67 500 Final agreement R67 500
Plus nominal interest R75 000
Show real willingness to negotiate and don't play games like you have done. This is how I work. Please tell AIG to come to the party. Neither party wants this to continue (now close to 3 years).
If you are not prepared to negotiate and pay my final figure of R75 000 all in inclusive of nominal interest, then I will proceed with what I must do after your next response and you can prepare to take me to court (on some trumped up facts) where I have nothing to hide and nothing to lose either as the truth will prevail and you will then be forced to make your files and all the recordings available and each and every complainant will be called to give evidence and will also probably be granted a claim settlement. NB: at your own client's expense (as all my facts will be the truth and substantiated and the other complainants will come forward, or when you are made to open your files, they will be contacted.)
Show serious willingness all round and this matter will be resolved.
If not, the short-term insurance industry is going to feel the bullet where, like Momentum have changed the industry because of one person - a claimant who took them to task.
Recently, the Ford Motor Company's South Africa CEO lost his position over the fires in cars. The Momentum CEO apologised on radio and paid out the next day. Now Richard Spoor Attorneys have been given the go ahead to lodge a class action against Tiger Brands etc iro listeriosis. On 7 January 2019 and 9 January 2019, Food Lover's Market and Woolworths SA respectively, were featured on Radio 702 and spoken about the entire day - which had their management reeling, all covered and pushed by the media - where all at first denied any issues, which is where we are in this matter!!
Finally, the saying goes "if you wish for something hard and long enough, in many cases it comes true." This morning, Monday, 14 January 2019, a large Spar franchise holder owning in the region of 24 Spar branches, was featured negatively on 702 Radio. The public are growing weary.
Your choice - AIG and Spar must now show real willingness to want to finalise this matter and come to the party.
THE GAME STOPS HERE.
All the best for the New Year.
Patrick & Rosemary Galbraith