The types of businesses that receive the most consumer complaints: ombud

 ·29 Oct 2021

The Consumer Goods and Services Ombud (CGSO) has published a new note on some of the most complained about businesses in South Africa and those that are most likely to take your money and run.

The ombudsman said that over the years, it has identified trends where certain suppliers operating specific types of businesses engage in unfair business practices and tend to not cooperate with its office to resolve complaints lodged against them.

“These businesses tend to accept money from their customers but fail to deliver the goods or deliver inferior quality goods or services,” it said.

An analysis of the sectors and type of complaints shows that small and micro-businesses in the following sectors tend to flout Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and don’t address complaints lodged against them:

  • Tombstone manufacturers;
  • Home renovations;
  • Builders;
  • Courier services;
  • Furniture movers;
  • Online stores operating mainly on Facebook and Instagram – specifically for branded clothing, sneakers, and hair products like wigs.

“The CGSO understand that it is not easy to run a small business. However, this is not an excuse to flout the CPA by taking monies from consumers and not delivering the goods or the services.

“Businesses that respect the law and practice good customer care tend to flourish and become sustainable,” said Katlego Lehabe, business development manager at CGSO.

To create compliance awareness among small businesses, the CGSO said that it continues to work with the Small Enterprise Development Agency, Industry Associations and Provincial Consumer Affairs Offices to conduct legal and compliance awareness workshops focusing on small businesses and clients who want information on starting a business.

“Consumers have the right to receive goods and services that they paid for. Too many suppliers within these sectors consistently display a lack of fair and honest dealings with consumers, and as a result, tarnish the reputation of their entire industry,” said Consumer Goods and Services Ombud Magauta Mphahlele.

“These rogue suppliers accept money from customers and do not deliver or render the services to the promised quality standards. In other instances, goods delivered will be incorrect, or the final product will be of inferior quality.”

Mphahlele said these businesses are also notorious for not making good on their mistakes. After several unsuccessful attempts to seek assistance from the suppliers, she said consumers turned to the ombud for redress.

“Consumers are cautioned to do extensive due diligence when engaging with suppliers in these sectors. This includes doing an online search to check what other consumers have said about them, asking for references and checking them, and choosing suppliers that belong to professional bodies,” she said.

“Small and micro-enterprises are an essential component of our economy, but it pays to check their credentials before parting with your hard-earned cash.”

Read: More businesses are backing a proposed public holiday change for South Africa

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter