Palu Aviation apologises as complainants thank Kaniva for its part on getting their money back  

'Oku 'i he konga taupotu 'i lalo ha fakamatala he lea faka-Tonga'

Palu Aviation CEO Tēvita Palu has apologised to a family which has been complaining about his company for not paying container company fees, not telling the truth and failing to honour promises.

The apologies – and a refund – came after Kaniva News stepped in to help.

The owner of the Real Tonga Airline also said he was aware of the many shortfalls that had arisen from the services at his office in Auckland, New Zealand.

Palu said the staff involved in the incidents no longer worked for his shipping and freight services.

He said concerned customers had been repaid and his freight and shipping services had been restructured to make sure there would be no more complaints.

Palu was responding after Kaniva News contacted him about a complaint we received from some of his customers who sent containers to Tonga from Auckland.

Sione Vea told us he had been chasing the company’s agent in Auckland to pay back NZ$2600 owed to him after he paid double so that a container company in Tonga would release his container, which Palu Aviation sent to the  kingdom in February.

Vea said he paid NZ$3100 to the Palu Aviation office in Ōtāhuhu for his 20 foot container full of building materials and he flew to Tonga in February to receive it.

But when he reached Tonga he discovered the container company would not release the container.

When he contacted Palu Aviation office in Tonga they blamed their office in Auckland.

When he contacted the office in Auckland they pointed their fingers at their office in Tonga.

“It’s really a headache to see these people lying,” Vea said in Tongan.

Vea’s children in Auckland decided to get involved and contacted the Palu Aviation office in Ōtāhuhu, Auckland. They told the office  they had the paperwork showing their father had paid for his container and that it should be cleared once it arrived in Tonga.

They were told to contact their office in Tonga.

Sione’s daughter Mele told Kaniva News she was so frustrated and stressed after a series of text exchanges between her and the office.

She said the company representative claimed he had done his best to release the container in March. After weeks of promises he finally texted her saying he no longer worked for Palu Aviation.

Mele said her father had suffered a stroke in the past and she had  been concerned he might become ill again because of the problems.

She said after an inquiry she found out that Palu Aviation hired the container they used to send the building materials to Tonga from an Auckland container company for NZ$2600.

She then contacted the container company’s office in Auckland and was told his father’s container could not be released because Palu Aviation had not paid their $2600 fee.

She said she and her father decided to pay another $2600 to the container company so they could release the container in Tonga and leave the payment they made to Palu Aviation to deal with it later.

Mele said after about four months of chasing around with Palu Aviation his father consulted a lawyer in Auckland, but this was not helpful. Then Vea listened to the Kaniva Tonga Radio programme in June in which the editor Kalino Lātū talked about a case in which a Samoan chief conned some Tongan women into buying fake Samoan fine mats.

They decided to try Kaniva Tonga news.

On June 22, after Kaniva contacted Palu Aviation CEO Tēvita Palu, the company re-funded the NZ$2600.

“Thank you for your help as we know if it wasn’t for you they would not give our money back,” Mele told us.

“Thank you so much. We appreciate your hard work and trying to help us.”

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

Right now Kaniva News provides a free, politically independent, bilingual news service for readers around the world that is absolutely unique. We are the largest New Zealand-based Tongan news service, and our stories reach Tongans  wherever they are round the world. But as we grow, there are increased demands on Kaniva News for translation into Tongan on our social media accounts and for the costs associated with expansion. We believe it is important for Tongans to have their own voice and for Tongans to preserve their language, customs and heritage. That is something to which we are strongly committed. That’s why we are asking you to consider sponsoring our work and helping to preserve a uniquely Tongan point of view for our readers and listeners.

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