Consumer Complaints - A Guide


Ellipsis Regulatory Solutions
Company Rep
Jan 14, 2011
There are several avenues through which you can raise and escalate a complaint when you’re dissatisfied with a service provider. We will take you through the different steps and routes you can take to resolve a complaint. This guide does not cover proceeding in the courts (which should almost always be a last resort).

Service Provider
When there is an issue with a service provider, your first step should be to raise that issue with the service provider concerned. The ICASA Code of Conduct Regulations requires that service providers maintain a complaints handling procedure, in terms of which receipt of complaints are to be acknowledged within 3 days and an outcome is to be determined and communicated to the consumer within 14 days.

Check whether the service provider has a complaints handling procedure; if so follow that as closely as possible. The following information should – at a minimum – be included in your complaint:
  • Full name and contact details;
  • Your relationship with the service provider and a reference number, if applicable;
  • A statement providing reasons for the complaint in sufficient detail to assess the matter;
  • Relevant evidence or documentation in support of your claim.

Ensure that a reference number is obtained on lodging the complaint. It is advisable to conduct all correspondence in writing, or to follow up on any telephonic conversations with written confirmation of what was discussed, so a thorough record of all correspondence is maintained. Also maintain records of the names of the persons dealt with at the service provider and the dates of lodging the complaint and all correspondence following. If you do not receive satisfactory resolution of the matter, attempt to escalate the matter within the service provider organisation (how to do this may be specified in the service provider’s complaints handling procedure if it has one). This is important as you will have to show that you have exhausted all available options of reviewing the matter with the service provider in order to escalate it.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint or feel that it has not been dealt with properly, there are further avenues you can pursue for relief. Industry bodies such as ISPA and WAPA should be your next port of call. The complaint process of each will be considered separately – see ISPA Consumer complaints process and WAPA Consumer complaints process. To determine whether your service provider is a member of ISPA and/or WAPA, have a look at the members list of each as found on their websites. If the service provider is a member of both, choose one organisation with which to file the complaint. If the service provider is not a member of either, the complaint can be directed to ICASA – see ICASA Consumer complaints process.

Throughout your dealings with the service provider and the industry bodies, it is important to remember to be cordial and professional in your conduct. Avoid screaming, shouting and swearing in your correspondence, all of which will lessen the chances of a satisfactory outcome.

Your complaints
We invite members to take us through a personal account of a complaint filed with the above bodies if there is a pending complaint, so fellow members may benefit from their experience and we can track the efficiency of the above organisations in dealing with complaints. If you decide to do so, please send me a PM and you will have the opportunity to start a thread and track the progress of your complaint.
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