Choosing the right channels when it comes to serious complaints.

Compared to just five years ago the means by which people have been lodging complaints have changed drastically. Today we live in a consumer generated society, in other words the people (you and me) have become more aware of the type of service and quality they deserve and ought to receive.


According to a survey on Econsultancy, written by Graham Charlton: 41% of people will make a complaint by phone and 63% by email. 20% turn to social media sites to make a public announcement about their current experiences, good or bad. This will vary from anything like businesses complaints, finance issues, health matters and consumer rights even to government laws that don’t abide by peoples standards. Social media is a forever growing buzz though. “This trend is set to continue” says Charlton as the figure rises to 36% amongst 18 – 24 year olds.

Basically what I’m actually getting as is that no matter who you are, we all have our specific preferences on making ourselves heard. So here are some channels you might want to consider when making your quarrels heard – not all are as effective as you would hope especially if the person on the other side of a phone line could care less.

Social media

A growing trend and by far my favourite!

Most consumer generated companies like Pick ‘n Pay, Checkers and Woolworths have switched their attention to online media interaction. Sites like their own webpages, Facebook and Twitter accounts have opened the floodgates for people to share their comments, be it positive or negative feedback.


For brands today everything is extremely competitive and with a more conscience and savvy market they’ll have to compete to stay relevant in order for their consumers to stay loyal. Pick ‘n Pay and Woolworths for instance have their own twitter pages where one can basically write whatever you want: complaints and positive feedback. The nice productive asset about it is that they almost always get back to you through a tweet-reply. With a sea of people watching, the pressure is on for these companies to make an effort. The more of an effort they make the more appreciation the consumer will have for the company.

Here’s a simple example: every brand will have a twitter page say for instance we choose Pick ‘n Pay then it will go something like this: “@PicknPay Always love shopping at your stores.” The same will go for another found favourite – Facebook. Comments can be posted and shared directly on the pages for the entire world to see. It’s simple and effective, nobody likes bad publicity.

Obviously we don’t always want to take the casual route because let’s face it there is some sort of etiquette when it comes to old fashioned complaining and sometimes it’s not all about making a scene but actually seeing some results. Be it an incorrect balance in your bank account, poor health care or faulty and dangerous construction sites – tweeting about it won’t necessarily get the employees “on site”


How and where to file a complaint?

With provincial consumer affair offices in all 9 provinces, according to consumer affairs they are there to provide consumers with protection, education information and advice. This website provides consumers with information on contact details of offices where complaints can be filed: Banks, Finance charges, Credit Bureau, Builders, vehicle purchases etc.

  1. Banks

Through the assistance of the Provincial Consumer Affairs Offices in the different provinces consumers can rely on then to present their cases to the Banking Adjudicator, who is in charge of handling all negative comments “bank” related.

Banking Adjudicator Johannesburg: 086 0800 900  |  011 838 0035


  1. Finance acts

Seeing as the acts might be prone to change, the CCRD provides up to date information concerning maximum finance charges and rates. Information is oddly enough shared over the telephone consumers can simply call: 0861 843 384

  1. Credit Bureau Association

Should you have a dispute with a credit bureau about their accuracy of information you can contact the CBA to investigate your complaint.

Negative information about your credit status however can only be removed under the following circumstances:

  • When recorded information is incorrect and has been proved to be so. When the set time period has expired, (3 or 5 years) When judgement has been reversed in court.
  • On the instruction from the company that requested the listing.

(information provided by the CBA webpage)


Tel:  +27 (11) 886-8519  |   Fax:  +27 (11) 789 6080  |

  1. Builders

To deal with complaints against defined defects The National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) is the company to speak to. They oversee the protection of consumers in terms of the Housing Consumers Protection Measures. With their offices based in Johannesburg clients can file complaints by either phone fax or by going onto their website.


Tel:  +27 (11) 348-5700  |  Fax: +27 (11) 789-2902 / 285-4101. |

  1. Vehicle purchases

These matters are specifically handled by the Retail Motor industry Organisation. Any manufacture or vehicle glitches, complaints or even information queries are done through these guys.


Tel: +27 (11) 789-2542 or +27 (12) 348-9311  |  Fax: +27 (11) 789-4525.

Email:  |  Website:


Currently the most popular site in South Africa is hellopeter. They pride themselves in their action orientated site and the fact that it’s so convenient. It’s easy to use and made with the customer in mind. They give the customer the opportunity to tell their side of the story and report on the treatment you receive from any supplier.

As a consumer we like to know that we’re receiving only the best service, produce and investments. If not it’s important that we complain about them. If we don’t we’ll always be stuck with the same problems over and over again. Is there any other way for businesses to improve without a little constructive criticism?

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