Distressed and inconvenienced? The banking ombudsman has your ...

Ideas

Distressed and inconvenienced? The banking ombudsman has your back

Customers are continuously being short-changed or ignored, but the banking watchdog looks for fair resolutions

Consumer journalist

My line of work affords me fascinating and often horrifying fly-on-the-wall insight into the way companies deal with their customers.

I’m not in the room, of course, but I read their e-mail exchanges and often hear recordings of their verbal exchanges. Either the bosses aren’t bothering to check how their employees are engaging with their customers, or they’re instructing them to treat them like that — either way, it’s appalling.

Here’s a classic example: Mabel Nhlabathi bought two pairs of boots from Crocs SA online and received them November 17. One pair was too small, so she asked about an exchange. No problem, she was told, just pay a R70 collection fee, which she did, that day. The boots were promptly collected and then weeks went by with no boots and no response from Crocs SA. E-mail after e-mail was ignored...

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