Complain like a Boss: Some advice for consumers

Have you been screwed over by a supplier? Here is what you do.
#1: Don’t hire a lawyer just yet
Your first step should be to lay a formal complaint with the supplier or manufacturer. Be polite. It is human nature to shy away from difficult conversation. Don’t be a difficult conversation – they will make you wait.
We like complaining via twitter. It is mean, but effective.
#2: Who you gonna call?
So, the supplier is ignoring you, telling you to go…(you won’t believe the type of claim rejection letters we see). Your next step is to call an ombud. Weird word.*
If your complaint relates to a credit agreement, call MIOSA.
If it is a case of misleading marketing, call the ASASA.
Issues with a credit agreement? Call the NCR.
Crap just broke (or pretty much anything else)? Call the CGSO. We are BIG fans.
Follow their processes.
#3: Still nothing…now call an attorney
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind. Don’t throw good money after bad. Ask the attorney how much what is going to cost. Also don’t forget that it will take your time and energy too.  Because, let’s face it, many attorneys will happily take your good money. But sometimes a letter of demand will do the trick.
#4: Get it all in writing
Make sure that you have everything in writing from the get go. Every single exchange. If something is said over the phone, follow up with an e-mail.
*The word ‘ombudsman’ is a Scandinavian term and it dates back to the 1300’s (although the first ombuds were found in China as early as 200 BC). If the world is so old, why is the word still not recognised by my spellcheck. What’s up with that?

2018-03-15T10:29:43+00:00By |Complaints management|

About the Author:

Elizabeth de Stadler
Elizabeth is the quirky one in the company. She specialises in all things Consumer Law, plain language drafting and designing and delivering training. She prides herself on being slightly out there and bringing a fresh perspective to compliance issues. She has a Masters (cum laude – the nerd) in Consumer Law. Elizabeth met Paul in 2011 and joined Esselaar Attorneys (she is still a senior associate at the firm). In 2013 they founded Novation Consulting together. Elizabeth is a bit of a nerd. She is the editor of the Consumer Law Review (you can get it here for free!) and wrote A Guide to the Protection of Personal Information Act with Paul. She is also the author of Consumer Law Unlocked, a co-author of the hefty Commentary to the Consumer Protection Act and wrote chapters on the Consumer Protection Act in The Law of Contract in South Africa and The Law of Commerce in South Africa. She is currently working with Liezl van Zyl from the Stellenbosch University Language Centre on Plain language legal drafting, which will be published in 2017. Elizabeth loves Lego, sneakers, zombies and white wine. She hates comic sans font, sweet potato and most other attorneys. She is allergic to suits and ‘office shoes’ because of the years she worked at Webber Wentzel. She is very scared of moths. It is a thing – read about it. Want to find out more about Elizabeth? Check her out on LinkedIn. Better yet, contact her on or (021) 481 8004.