Customer throws shade on car canopy

Denise Schouw is probably suffering from buyer’s remorse after she installed a Shadeport that looks “like an industrial structure which offers no protection to the family’s two cars and a trailer”.

The Bothasig resident paid Shadewell R19 000 for the installation and, except for the “roof”, and where the Shadeport is attached to one wall of the house, it is open to the elements.

Much like a carport which usually has a glass fibre, polycarbonate or solid IBR (Inverted Box Rib) roof but with a gutter and downpipe for water run-off, a shadeport has a galvanised steel structure, supporting poles or wall brackets with a centre cross which forms a pyramid. The top is covered with shadecloth, either standard or waterproof stretched over the frame. I have a carport at my house which doesn’t offer much protection.

Ms Schouw said Shadewell’s name came up on the internet. “I thought they were more in the awning business but I contacted them as we wanted to support the community.”

Ms Schouw said she wasn’t sure if a Shadeport could be put up which is why they asked owner of Shadewell, Philip Mills, for advice.

Mr Mills had some concerns about the height of the window and gate and “we discussed the ‘industrial’ look of the Shadeport with him, several times”.

She accepted the quote despite her misgivings. There’s an old saying that Ms Schouw should bear in mind next time she wants to buy something: “When in doubt, cut it out”.

“The structure was installed way too high and it does not protect our two cars and a trailer from the elements. The framework is warped in some places and when it rains, water pockets form on top of the shadecloth at one end. Even though I chose a 100% waterproof shadecloth, the rain seeps in through the stitching in more than one spot. The back skirting does not reach both ends of the back poles and on a windy day it bangs against the Vibracrete wall that separates my house from my neighbour,” Ms Schouw claimed.

She said Mr Mills has been to her home several times “but (our concerns) fall on deaf ears”.

Mr Mills said it is a fabrication that the structure provides no protection to the Schouw vehicles.

“It is 7.5m x 5m and covers three vehicles adequately. We have the same structure at our home which is how Ms Schouw contacted our company. The shadecloth is not waterproof. The shadenet is waterproof, a Dri-Z product, supplied by Knittex. I visited the site at Ms Schouw’s request when it was raining, stood underneath the Shadeport and the paving below it was dry. However, the wind blew the rain in on the side. At the window the water was dripping through the holes created by the stitching, on one small area only, which we said we would fix with silicone sealer. We told her the net which was damming the water would contract and shrink in time and the problem would dissipate,” Mr Mills said.

“The Shadeport covers the area between her house and boundary wall. We have done more than we said we would do. We added a centre support which would stop the outer front and back tube from concaving. We did return to try to seal the ‘leaking cover’, but she told us it was not acceptable to her.

“On completion of the structure Ms Schouw went inside and called her friends, family and colleagues and told them how happy she was and they needed to see the excellent Shadeport she had, and ‘they were going to have a party underneath it’, according to our colleagues Basie and Mark who did the installation,” Mr Mills said.

“Later she complained that the structure should have followed the angle of her paving. We pointed out that her gate and entrance area are much lower and she agreed that the Shadeport be level. We have been in the industry for many years and on occasion have had installation problems, which have been sorted to the customer’s satisfaction.

“Ms Schouw was verbally abusive. She was on speaker phone once and we can testify to her vulgarity. She said she would take legal action and we encouraged her to do so as we have fulfilled our obligation,” Mr Mills said.

Ms Schouw said: “I was not aware that Mr Mills had the same structure at his house. Neither my husband nor I were near or at his house,” said Ms Schouw.

However, I drive through Bothasig often and the Shadewell premises are on Vryburger Avenue, near the library.

She said Mr Mills agreed to drop the height of the Shadeport but it would be at her expense which is when she asked Mr Mills and his two colleagues to leave her house.

“We are a well-known and respected family in the Bothasig community where we have lived for the past 34 years. My daughter has been teaching at Bothasig Primary School for 14 years. We always believed in contributing to the upliftment of our suburb,” Ms Schouw said.

So that’s where it ends. The Shadeport is not what Ms Schouw wanted, she said.