LISTEN: Sleepless nights for customers after bed store closes

LISTEN: Sleepless nights for customers after bed store closes

Beds for Africa was a major national bed retailer with at least 14 branches around the country, seven of them in KZN, but many of them have been closed or sold in the past six months, including the Hillcrest, Newcastle and Richards Bay branches, leaving only a few open for trading.

Beds for Africa closes
Wendy Knowler

Listen to Wendy on the topic below, or read the details under the podcast.

That is until last Monday, May 8 when the last of those doors closed, and that was that. 
No notices put up, no explanation, nothing.

The thing is, that was almost a month after the company was liquidated.

Among the people who had paid for beds in those last weeks - either in full or via lay-by - was Yellowwood couple Anton and Melinda Seocharan.

The went to the Springfield “Mega Store” on the public holiday of April 27 and paid R6620 for a queen-sized Sealy bed on display in the store, having compared prices at competing bed outlets in the centre. 

There was absolutely no mention or sign of anything suggested that the company had been liquidated, Melinda told Consumerwatch.

As they hadn’t yet moved into their new home, they asked for the bed to be delivered on Monday the 8th of May, ironically the very day the store was locked up and abandoned.

Beds for Africa closes
Wendy Knowler

When the bed wasn’t delivered, Melinda started phoning around and that’s when she discovered that the phones at the other branches just rang too. 

Except for the Pietermaritzburg branch which had been sold, reportedly, keeping the same staff but operating under a new name - Mattress Mart.

When Anton visited the store the next day, he discovered the shut up shop with a few beds left inside. There was no notice on the door but the staff in the next door shop told him that the company had been liquidated.

Naturally, that didn’t go down well. And their bank said there was nothing they could do to help, as they had paid with a debit card.

Yesterday I spoke to Yaseen Essack who was the company’s MD, who said he had “tried to avoid this situation” - meaning customers like the Seocharans not getting what they paid for. 

Beds for Africa closes
Wendy Knowler

From early April, he said, he instructed staff only to sell stock that was on the floor. “I got legal advice to keep trading what I had in stock,” he said.

“I’d like to apologise to those who have suffered a loss,” Essack said. “Hopefully through the liquidators they will get something back..”

I also spoke to Kurt Knoop of Manci Knoop Financial Services who were appointed as liquidators on May 11. 

He said that that payments made by customers after liquidation on April 19 would be entitled to a refund if their beds weren’t delivered, so that’s really good news for the Seocharans. 

Knoop said the funds would be recovered from the company’s bank account.

“But those who paid before 19 April and did not receive their beds are only able to lodge a claim as creditors, Knoop said, “which is unsecured, and in all likelihood they will not receive a dividend.”

Signs will be put up at the closed branches with the liquidator’s contact details, Knoop said. Affected customers should phone Roxanne on 033 845 9330 or preferably email [email protected]


Use your credit card to pay for big ticket purchases. If you don’t get what you paid for, you can apply to your bank for chargeback, which, in short, results in you getting your money back from the company account into which it was paid.

It always pays to do a little bit of Googling before you do business with a company, especially if you’re going to have to pay upfront for something that you can’t pop into your boot and drive off with. 

HelloPeter is a good place to start. A search for “Beds for Africa” throws up several complaints posted in recent months by people who didn't get what they paid for.

A few minutes doing some research can save you a whole lot of financial and emotional trauma later. 

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