Ina Opperman
Business Journalist
3 minute read
17 May 2021
5:19 pm

Tammy Taylor Nails: empty and broken promises

Ina Opperman

The Viljoens made promises they did not keep, such as refunding one of the potential franchisees if they could not find a store for her. She is still waiting after two years.

One of the Tammy Taylor Nails SA stores. Picture for illustration only.

Tammy Taylor Nails’ franchise history is littered with empty and broken promises. Some of the women who bought a license for a Tammy Taylor Nail salon have been waiting for two years to have their license fee of R345 000 paid back, but the owner, Melany Viljoen, does not seem keen to do that.

Asked for comment yesterday, the receptionist at the head office made it very clear that “nobody speaks to the media”. An email with questions has not been answered yet.

ALSO READ: Tammy Taylor Nails franchise story goes horribly wrong for SA owners

Lea Abvajee is one of the women who paid R345 000 for a license to operate in the Fairland area. She says she was given a blank franchise agreement and told she could come in to sign her customised agreement at head office once her store was located.

After multiple failed promises to secure a store in the area from Tammy Taylor SA for over a year, she spoke to the chief executive officer, Peet Viljoen, in December 2019 about the trail of non-performance. Viljoen assured her that he would personally ensure that a store is secured, failing which he would refund her investment.

Needless to say, that did not happen and when she called him in March last year to remind him of his promise to refund her, he offered her the Tammy Taylor Nails store in The Marc in Sandton. She questioned why they wanted to give her a store outside the area she wanted and why the store in question had an existing owner.

Abvajee then sent a formal request for a refund, but received no reply. After multiple follow-ups, Melany Viljoen finally replied. She wanted Abvajee to take her investment and re-invest it into another store. She claimed that the owner of this store had just “walked away” and “abandoned” her business.

ALSO READ: How to protect yourself when buying a franchise

In a recording Abvajee made of their conversation, Melany Viljoen says: “It happened to… I will tell you who it happened to … Witbank – she literally just walked away – because they buy big salons and then they can’t.. they have other stuff going on and then they just … it’s an African thing … I promise you – it’s an African thing.

“And it’s not wrong … it’s not necessarily right or wrong… it is just sometimes the way that it is. But that seems to be a trend among them, so now we don’t sell big salons anymore … we said to everyone we’re sorry you are not getting a spa you are getting nails and pedi only because you are biting off more than you can chew and then you walk away from the salon because it is overwhelming for you.”

The Citizen has approached black influencers who promoted the Tammy Taylor Nails brand and is waiting for their response on whether they still want to promote the brand if the owner makes comments like these.

Santhuri Poovalingam also bought a license in 2018 for the Sandton CBD. Her problems started when Tammy Taylor Nails sold the location she initially requested, in The Marc, to another franchisee later in the year without telling her.

This location was also within a 1km radius from the new location she had found herself and signed for in August last year, although the draft franchise agreement states that other stores will not be developed within a radius of 2km.

When she contacted Melany Viljoen in June last year to follow up on her request to have her money refunded, Viljoen sent her a message stating: “Santhuri, you are dealing with a company here, if you are not happy with a KFC packet that you bought, that you wanted, you can’t send WhatsApps to the CEO of KFC.”

Poovalingam has been waiting since 2019 to be refunded.