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Emigrating from South Africa

Emigrating from South Africa is a big task. It’s a big task no matter what country you are in. It takes time, planning, and spans of money. For the average South African, saving the money to emigrate takes blood, sweat, and tears. And when service providers seek to steal that hard-earned money, it’s somewhat of a bitter pill to swallow. An unfortunate number of South Africans have swallowed that bitter pill, even recently.

The shipping swindle of the year that devastated many emigrating South Africans

2020 was a year that many jokingly call a nightmare. For some, it wasn’t just the pandemic that unleashed a sense of unhappiness in their lives; it was more than that.

Many emigrating South Africans learned a hard lesson in 2020 when an unscrupulous shipping company already in dire financial straits, took on new customers, took their money and then liquidated; blaming COVID-19 for the sudden failing business. On a little investigation from the Carte Blanche team, it was discovered that the company was circling the financial drain long before it swindled over 100 people out of their hard-earned emigration money.

You might wonder where on earth emigrating South Africans found a company that confidently took advantage of them. The answer is simple: the internet! Precise Shipping, run by Cindy Saunders was easily found flaunting affordable and reliable services online to South Africans who were emigrating and hoping to take their sentimental and valuable possessions with them. Unfortunately, after several people paying amounts ranging from R18, 000 to R75, 000 (and possibly even more), the company sent out matter-of-fact emails, stating that they had gone into liquidation and the money was gone. For many unable to pay further fees, this was devastating news.

Of course, clients were left in the lurch and that’s wildly disappointing, but it’s really about a lot more than that. Many clients found that the shipping company had never paid the shipping fees to the shipping company, even though they had paid the fees over. This left several companies paying the fee again (this time to the shipping company) for their container of belongings to be released. Other customers found that even though they had paid their money over, their containers were never sent over by the company, meaning they would have to first locate their goods and then possibly pay the fee again to have the container sent over.

You can watch the full investigation done by Carte Blanche here.

How to avoid being conned when emigrating with furniture/belongings

If you are planning to emigrate from South Africa and take your belongings with you, let this serve as a sage warning! Don’t just trust the first shipping company you come across online- do your homework. Below are a few tips on how to avoid being scammed or swindled when emigrating from South African with your furniture and belongings.

  • Say goodbye to the middle-man
    • Go direct and save both money and possible disappointment. Cut out the middle-man and deal directly with the shipping company.

  • Make a wise choice of shipping company
    • Choose a shipping company that has a good reputation and is known in the industry. You can do a bit of research into this by joining online expat groups and chatting to the expat community in your destination country about which companies they used. Scour the internet for reviews on the company. You might be surprised by what you find.

  • Be wary of paying full amounts up front
    • Rather pay a deposit up front and the balance when the goods are delivered

  • Be willing to start fresh (don’t take your furniture with you)
    • Consider selling your furniture and bigger items and buying new furniture on the other side with the money you make. To ensure that you are aware of what this will cost you, ask local communities in your destination country where you can shop. Websites such as Gumtree provide an international platform where you can buy and sell furniture pieces.

Top emigration shipping companies operating in South Africa

It’s tempting to use Google and Facebook to search for shipping companies and other service providers when emigrating. While many of the companies advertised are legitimate and reliable, there’s no guarantee that your money is safe or that the service will be provided once you have paid.

Below is a list of the best known emigration shipping companies that have branches in South Africa.

  • Elliott Mobility
  • Pickfords Worldwide
  • Biddulphs International
  • Stuttaford Van Lines

Of course, not everyone wants to take every piece of large furniture with them. What if you are traveling light? If you only plan to send a few sentimental items such as photographs and a few ornaments, you can use well known shipping companies to send a few boxes, such as DHL Worldwide or FedEx.

Choose the right shipping company for your belongings & FinGlobal for your finances

Throughout the emigration experience, you will need the assistance of professionals who are familiar with the entire process. Selecting the correct professionals is vitally important if you want to ensure that you get the most out of your money and don’t end up getting swindled. At FinGlobal, we provide our customers with premier advice and guidance pertaining to tax emigration and financial emigration in South Africa. Our professional and knowledgeable consultants are dedicated to ensuring that SA expats receive an efficient service that quells fears and correctly sets financial processes in place, for peace of mind. Whether you just need a bit of advice or would like professional assistance every step of the way, get in touch with us at FinGlobal.