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When you are faced with inappropriate treatment, for example,  when your bank only treats you like a number, it is important to take steps to deal with this situation. Know how to act and how to behave in this unpleasant situation.

Key guidelines: The bank treats me just like a number

Unpleasant situation to be treated like a customer who is not important. If you went through or are going through this problem in South Africa, learn how to take action to get rid of this situation

Keep Calm

This situation is not pleasant at all and it is understandable that you can be irritated and frustrated with poor service from the bank. But, you have to stay calm to deal with the issue and resolve it. Always getting irritated with problems doesn’t help solve them.

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Register complaints

To solve this problem, of being treated just like a number by the bank, it is necessary to have detailed information and data about the poor service. Write down dates, names, the description of the problem and more information. The records are useful and important for you and the bank to resolve the issue.

Contact Customer Service

Contact the bank’s Customer Service department to discuss and register the problem and the reasons for your dissatisfaction. Also, explain the facts in detail and clarify how you are entitled to be treated by the bank.

And don’t forget to also write down the protocol number of this service, names, dates and important information.

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File a formal complaint

It may happen that the response from the Call Center is not satisfactory for you. So, consider filing a complaint form. For example, at the bank’s Ombudsman.

Consider reaching out to regulatory bodies

If the bank does not adequately respond to your complaint or if you believe that the poor handling has violated financial regulations, it may be appropriate to contact regulatory bodies such as the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

Legal Advice

If you experience extremely damaging customer service or if the situation is not resolved to your satisfaction, it may be helpful to consult a lawyer who specializes in banking law. They will be able to advise you on possible legal actions you can take

South African Consumer Protection Bodies

In South Africa there are some organizations and entities that act in defense of consumer rights and that can be sought when there are problems or dissatisfaction, such as the bank treating you like a number.

  • National Consumer Commission (NCC): This is South Africa’s national consumer commission and is responsible for regulating and promoting consumer rights, investigating complaints and enforcing consumer protection legislation.
  • National Consumer Court (NCT): The National Consumer Court is an independent body that hears cases and disputes related to consumer rights. Make impartial decisions based on consumer protection laws.
  • Consumer Goods and Services Ombudsman (CGSO): dispute resolution body that acts as a mediator between consumers and service providers. Help resolve complaints related to products and services.
  • Provincial Consumer Affairs Offices: Each province in South Africa has a consumer affairs office that deals with complaints and inquiries related to consumer rights. These offices provide advice and assistance to consumers on consumer protection matters.

What is treating you like just a number? How to file a formal complaint

To open a consumer protection case in South Africa, follow the steps below:

  • Gather the necessary information: Before filing a ticket, make sure you have all the relevant information ready. This includes product or service details, purchase dates, supporting documentation, company communication records, and more.
  • Contact the company: Initially, try to resolve the issue directly with the company. Contact the customer service department and state your complaint clearly and concisely. Document all communications, including dates, names of people you spoke with, and relevant information discussed.
  • File a complaint with the National Consumer Commission (NCC): If you cannot get a satisfactory resolution from the company, you can file a complaint with the NCC. Visit the NCC website (www.thencc.gov.za) and look for instructions on how to file a complaint. They usually have an online form to fill in with details of the claim.
  • Contact the Provincial Consumer Affairs Office: Depending on which province you reside in, contact your local consumer affairs office. They can provide additional guidance on how to proceed with the complaint and can offer direct assistance in resolving the issue.
  • Consider other dispute resolution options: In some cases, it may be necessary to pursue other dispute resolution options, such as mediation or arbitration. Check to see if the NCC or your provincial consumer affairs office can advise you on these options or refer you to entities that specialize in this type of resolution.
  • Consult a lawyer: If all of the above steps do not resolve the issue, you may want to consider consulting a lawyer who specializes in consumer rights for additional legal advice on how to move forward with your claim.

Steps to file complaints with the National Consumer Commission (NCC)

Access the NCC website: Visit the official NCC website for up-to-date information and access to necessary resources.

  • The website is usually found at: www.thencc.gov.za.
  • Look for guidelines for filing a complaint: Browse the NCC website for information on how to file a complaint. Look for sections like “Complaints” or “Complaint Forms”. NCC can provide you with a dedicated online form to complete or detailed instructions on how to proceed.
  • Complete the complaint form: If an online form is available, fill it in with the requested information. Make sure you provide accurate and clear details about your issue. If an online form is not available, follow the instructions provided by NCC to file the complaint.
  • Attach Relevant Documents: If you have documents, receipts, contracts or any other material supporting your claim, please attach them to the claim form as instructed by NCC. This will help strengthen your case.
  • Submit the claim: After completing the form and attaching the relevant documents, submit the claim as per the guidelines provided by NCC. Make sure you follow all procedures correctly for your claim to be accepted and processed.
  • Track progress of claim: After filing the claim, NCC may provide a reference number or some other form of tracking to track the progress of the claim. Be sure to make a note of this information for future reference.

Unfortunately, situations can happen where the bank treats the customer just like a number. But remember, first you need to stay calm. Then you must take the measures that we explain. Good service is a consumer’s right!

We hope this information has been very useful to you. 

Thank you very much for reading us. 

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