They are three women, with one thing in common: they all feel that they were deceived. Deceived by who is the question they are trying to determine after they all purchased sofa sets for their homes in late November/December 2006, right around Christmas time.
But today, after having the comfort of the sofa sets for almost eight months, these women found out that the sofa sets they bought were not quite what they thought they were, or should have been.
It was not until two weeks ago that victim one, Tiffara Halliday, 25, a domestic of #98 West Canal, made the shocking discovery that her sofa set, which she had purchased at S.P. Home Depot, a furniture distributor and store located downtown Belize City near the foot of the Swing Bridge on Albert Street, was filled with mostly pampers, with a little bit of cardboard and sponge.
Halliday also alleges that the sofa was made from dry, rotted wood, which is why it caved in on her on July 17, leading to the shocking discovery that what she had sat on for the last eight months was soiled pampers, which began emitting a foul smell.
Usually, sofas would be packed with sponge to support the springs, and to allow comfort and durability to its buyers.
This is the first time Belizeans have heard of pampers being used in the building of sofa sets.
But it was not until Halliday made her discovery known on television on Tuesday night of this week that victim two, Yvette Bradley, learned that she too was a victim, and then early the following morning, victim 3, Sherlene Sabal, found out that she was also a victim of “sofa pampers.”
All these women are asking the owner of S.P. Home Depot to refund their money, but up until today, none of them have been given a refund. They say they simply do not want another sofa set from the company, just their cash.
Yesterday when Amandala visited the store downtown, we learned that the owner was an Indian man by the name of Vinord Punjabi, who gave his cell phone number as 610-4971 to one of the victims.
But even after the victims made calls to him, he did not show up at the store yesterday.
Victim number three, Sherlene Sabal, told us that she had been waiting at the store for some “long” hours. All she got was “an attitude” from an employee. She left the store at the end of the day and was told that she needed to bring her receipts first.
According to Sabal, she spoke with the store manager, a man named Marlon, whose last name is uncertain because as soon as they knew that the newspaper was investigating the incident, he did not want to say his full name again.
Unable to speak with the owner, we spoke with Marlon, who told us that none of the women have presented their receipts, so he could not do anything for them.
Halliday told us that her chairs would have been picked up by the end of the day, but up until today, two pieces of her four-piece sofa set are still sitting in her back yard.
Bradley and Sabal have also been promised that their sofa set would be taken back and fixed, but that also has not happened yet.
Today, victim one has gone to the City Belize Magistrate’s Court to execute a civil suit against the owner, while victims 2 and 3 are trying to negotiate with the company.
At 5:30 p.m. yesterday, when the store decided to close its doors for the day, the owner still had not shown up.
Before the newspaper left the store, a female Hispanic employee told us that her boss had told her via a telephone call to tell us that, “If we wanted their side of the story, call their attorney, Lionel Welch.”
But in a press release sent out last night by the company’s attorney, Lionel Welch, after seeing the story aired on Channel 7’s newscast Tuesday night, Welch said his client only, “heard that complaint about a few days ago,” but is investigating the matter with the manufacturer.
The press release continued to say, “Whilst my client is concerned about the feelings of his customers, I have advised them that their safety have (sic) not been endangered by the alleged findings of pampers.”
We understand that the “middle man” from whom S.P Home Depot purchased the sofas lives in Sarteneja, but we have not yet been able to locate him or her, because they have withheld that person’s name.
Halliday and Sabal paid $650 each for their sofa set, while Bradley said she paid $550.
According to Bradley, if she does not get a positive outcome within a period of time, she will be seeking legal advice, and all three victims will work together to make sure they get back their money from the company.