How fake online furniture shop Milo Designs scammed customers of millions over the years

Milo Designs, which is based in Durban, is accused of scamming customers using stolen images and making fake promises on social media platforms. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF

Durban-based Milo Designs labelled a scam by National Consumer Commission
A furniture company posting stolen internet images as its own designs has been labelled a scam by the National Consumer Commission (NCC).

Consumers have told the NCC they paid between R10‚000 and R1.2m per transaction to Durban-based Milo Designs after responding to furniture adverts — mainly bedroom suites — posted on Facebook and Instagram.

“The operators of this scam‚ LM Kotze and MC (Marco) Wood‚ are not co-operating with the commission‚” said acting national consumer commissioner Thezi Mabuza.

“The commission arranged several times to meet and serve them with an investigation certificate‚ to no avail. In most cases‚ they cancel meetings at the 11th hour‚ making it difficult to finalise our investigation. Addresses provided show dilapidated buildings. Anyone who might know the whereabouts of these individuals is urged to notify the commission.”

While Milo Designs’ Facebook page says the company “manufactures unique furniture with world-class standard” [sic]‚ the commission said the images of the furniture they are marketing are “not from South Africa but obtained from suppliers based in countries such as Columbia and Canada”.

“The commission has confirmed that these images were stolen from other sites like Pinterest‚ Instagram and Facebook‚” Mabuza said.

“We call on South Africans to exercise extreme caution when they transact with Milo Designs as their modus operandi is to advertise the goods and take money from consumers with no intention of delivery.”

The writer’s own reverse image searches found two bedroom furniture photos on the Milo Designs site on a UK Amazon site and a Turkish furniture company’s site respectively.

The Ombudsman for Consumer Goods and Services issued a press release warning consumers about Milo Designs in April 2019.

“The complainants paid the supplier for furniture which never arrived‚” the ombud said.

“Milo Design is refusing to refund consumers‚ stating they have a non-refund policy.

“To compound matters‚ the goods that have been delivered appear to be of an inferior quality and numerous complaints in this regard have also been received.”

Wood told TimesLIVE at the time that the company was experiencing “a major backlog” and promised to deliver outstanding orders.


Source: ARENA Holdings.


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