A fellow consumer journalist working for The Pioneer Press in Minneapolis, in the US, wrote an interesting piece recently on the power of social media when it comes to consumer gripes.
The paper’s “Watchdog”, Debra O’Connor, asked several regional and national “reputation managers” for their view of complaints posted on Facebook and Twitter, versus the companies’ own call centres or websites. They told her that because businesses realise they can’t afford to ignore these very public whinges, “tweeps” and posters often ended up in “a preferred position”.
I’m still getting e-mails daily from consumers who are furious that the cellphone networks continue to force them to forfeit prepaid airtime and data not used within a few months, despite the fact that the Consumer Protection Act’s section 63 states that all prepaid vouchers must be redeemable, for their full value, for up to three years.
Vodacom’s take goes like this: “When customers purchase data bundles, funds are deducted from their airtime in return for access to data bundles.
I’m still getting complaints about small independent retailers who aren’t honouring their customers’ Consumer Protection Act (CPA) rights when it comes to returning defective goods.
Last week the owner of a gift shop in a major Durban shopping centre reportedly told a customer who’d returned a defective ring and asked for a refund that “the CPA only applies to the big companies” – a line I’ve heard quite a few times.